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Old 07-16-2011, 10:18 AM
 
341 posts, read 654,653 times
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Your saying you felt like an orphan really resonated with me. I did have children, and I'm very lucky that I have a wonderful relationship with them now that they are independent adults.

When my parents passed, I too felt like I had been orphaned. A relationship with parents is totally different than that with your kids. They do not replace ones parents. I remember my mother once telling me years after her mom had passed that if she was going through some dilemma she would want to call her mom to discuss it, and then realize that she couldn't do that anymore. That same feeling has happened to me at times, even though my mom passed many years ago.

I was at a family wedding several years ago. There are only two older relatives left on my side of the family. Both of them couldn't attend due to illness. My siblings and I looked around and suddenly realized we were the "older generation" - how did that happen!! It's a rather sobering realization that we have no one older and "wiser" to turn to.

I am sorry for your loss.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,303 posts, read 7,396,801 times
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I am not yet of retirement age, but am childless by choice. My husband and I never wanted children and we have never regretted it (both of us are in our late 40's). I didn't want the responsibility or expense of bringing kids into an already over-populated world. Besides, even when I was a child myself, I wasn't overly fond of kids.

Most of my friends who have children spend endless hours complaining about them, and many of their grown children still live at home with no jobs!

As for people having children because "I want someone to take care of me in my old age," they must be delusional. Visit a convalscent home (I go twice a month). It's tragic to see so many old people sitting alone. Most of them have children and the kids never bother to visit their mom or dad.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
26,166 posts, read 43,916,783 times
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Sorry for your loss, and I understand your contemplative season. I trust you will feel supported by many friends who care for you and your needs (like US).

Kids and aging can really be a mixed blessing. I help with many seniors, and often accompany seniors / ill friends in the hospice and end of life arena. Many kids/ dependents cannot handle death, dying / aging / physical and mental challenges, either due to estranged relationships, emotional attachment, or lack of knowing how to get through this phase.

If I felt I needed additional support in aging (for any number of reasons) I would become an owner / member of a senior housing co-op. These folks are often very well supported and care for each other. I have researched and toured many senior housing co-op facilities across the USA and attended national conferences. A USDA study indicated that seniors live INDEPENDENTLY 10 additional yrs in a co-op living situation, rather than their own home / apartment. YMMV, but I'm all for an improved quality of life during the aging process.

Here is a list of a few senior housing co-ops, but many are not included, Senior Cooperative Foundation

even my favorite is missing. senior living, Becketwood Cooperative Home

other co-op resources
NAHC - National Association of Housing Cooperatives

intentional communities
Intentional Communities - ecovillages, communes, cohousing, coops

Thanks for sharing this thread. This topic can be painful. (as I think of the grief many of my seniors have with their adult children... very ugly indeed, sad).

We wish the Best of the future to you, where-ever your path may lead.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:10 PM
 
1,870 posts, read 2,643,554 times
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Childless by choice and have never regretted it. It never appealed to me for a number of reasons. As others have stated, my neices and nephews provide adequate satisfaction to whatever miniscule mothering instincts I have. I wish some people would understand that not all of us like children and want them around us.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:20 PM
ifa
 
294 posts, read 390,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
As to your question, I cannot answer because I'm not childless, but here is one POV.

From someone who has grown kids with lots of friends who had kids, I can tell you that there is no guarantee of anything. I am always amused when I read obits that state the departed person was "surrounded by beloved family" at the end. Although the "beloved" part is possible, it's a bit of a cliché.

I'm personally extremely gratified to have had my kids and it's a deep pleasure to know them now as adults. On the other hand, I believe that some of us bring children into this world and yet we do not own them, nor are we responsible for them when they mature and grow up. Some of our kids will be there for us in old age and departure, and some won't, or none will, depending on circumstances for all involved at that time.

Personally, although I am not religious in the standard way, my relationship with God is what matters most to me. I was just given a book by Richard Rohr, "Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life" that I am looking forward to reading, because even those of us who have children or lots of friends or whatever are essentially alone, we all are. Our journey is to feel secure in ourselves.
I agree with that. Each of us is ultimately alone and everything depends on our relationship with God. I have found that if I try to make people into my gods, things go bad. When I am in a good relationship with my God, then I get along with friends and relatives.

I think it's wonderful if someone longs to have children and has them. That is the most normal thing for most women, but I never felt that way. I think it's wonderful that I recognized I was not interested in being a parent.

There were other things I wanted to do instead, and I have done some of them. If I had children, a lot of my time and energy would have been tied up in something I never actually wanted.

However, I should say that my sister never wanted children either, but her husband did so they had them, and she has always been very glad she had them.

So maybe if I had them even if I didn't want to, I would have been glad I did. But I thought it would be reckless to take that chance.

Instead, I have devoted my life to God and art, science, music, philosophy, yoga, all the things I really wanted in my life.

Maybe if I had kids one of them would have become a millionaire and I would be retired by now. But then, maybe not.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:29 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,601 posts, read 33,027,581 times
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I have five children, my wife has two and we are about to welcome grandchild #10 into the family. Neither of us has any regrets.

That being said, both of us grew up in a time when education followed by career start followed by marriage followed by children was the norm and the expectation. In retrospect we both agree that if someone, way back when, had ever told us we could have perfectly happy and productive lives without ever bringing a child into the world, neither of us likely would have.

It's a very personal decision and not one that should be regretted. We moved when I retired. We now live over 1,900 miles from five of the children and six of the grands, 850 miles from one of the grands and 700 miles from the other two children and the rest of the grands including the one expected. That's fine too!
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,663 posts, read 9,276,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fay111 View Post
Your saying you felt like an orphan really resonated with me. I did have children, and I'm very lucky that I have a wonderful relationship with them now that they are independent adults.

When my parents passed, I too felt like I had been orphaned. A relationship with parents is totally different than that with your kids. They do not replace ones parents. I remember my mother once telling me years after her mom had passed that if she was going through some dilemma she would want to call her mom to discuss it, and then realize that she couldn't do that anymore. That same feeling has happened to me at times, even though my mom passed many years ago.

I was at a family wedding several years ago. There are only two older relatives left on my side of the family. Both of them couldn't attend due to illness. My siblings and I looked around and suddenly realized we were the "older generation" - how did that happen!! It's a rather sobering realization that we have no one older and "wiser" to turn to.

I am sorry for your loss.
My husband sat down today at dinner and actually discussed this. His dad is only parent left and my husband is an only child. I lost my parents - my mom last year and it does have an effect. We were even prepared for it; it was inevitable and still, the feelings just come. I am lucky because I have siblings but my husband does not. He will be alone (I tell him he has our family and we have children but it's not the same).

We have a family wedding coming up this year as well and yes, that is a sobering thought!!

As far as the OP's comment, I see many couples or singles happily going through life without children. Their friends are their family in a sense. It does make you think though and I've thought about it all day from reading this.

And then of course, you could have children and they're spread all over the country - you would alone then as well.

One day, I would love to figure out how my parents got all their children (4) to eventually live within 10 miles of them, get married and raise their families in the same locale. They were lucky in that regard.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 18,709,359 times
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Default Relationships between children and parents

In my experience there is a special, closer relationship between mothers and daughters which does not always obtain between daughters and fathers or between sons and either parent. I am male, and I find that while I miss both my parents, I did not find myself "adrift" or "orphaned" after their deaths. I know that my sister remained quite close to my mother but not to my father, in conformance to the pattern I am describing.

Do you other posters think I am over-generalizing from my own observations, or do you think there is something to this?
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,663 posts, read 9,276,002 times
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Smile My own experience

As a daughter, my brother and I were closer to our father. My two sisters were closer to my mom. We paired off like this. I guess I was a good babysitter for my brother, ha, ha.

When my mother passed away, I was surprised at the depth of my feelings and loss I felt. She was a great mom and I loved her but she connected with my sisters - all creative types - but I'm still learning about her after her passing.

My husband was closer to his mother. His father is rather eccentric and I often feel that my husband is afraid of him even though his dad is now 88. Recently, his dad asked my husband to read an old book about WW II so he could talk to him about it and my gosh, my husband is actually reading it!!
(I am thrilled about this b/c I want my husband to spend the time with his dad and relate to him).
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,092 posts, read 13,865,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post

Do you other posters think I am over-generalizing from my own observations, or do you think there is something to this?
Yup. Over-generalizing.

I was Daddy's girl. We "got" each other. He's been gone 10 years now, and I still want to pick up the phone and tell him a burp joke.

I go see, and take care of, my mother because she's my mother. Not because I really want to.
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