FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed

Look for FINAL YEARS in paperbook around Christmas.
Guest Blog Post by author Dawn Kairns

I always knew I’d lose my parents, but was not prepared for what caring for aging parents really meant. How could I ever prepare myself for the way watching a loved parent suffer would affect me? Or how overwhelming and life-changing the loss of my parents would be?

We are moved by what we love. It was my dog and constant companion, Maggie, who inspired my first book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life. Then caring for my declining parents moved me to write again, and to interview others to explore their varied experiences in caring for their aging and dying parents. Thus, FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed was born.

I like to write about what is real—what touches people. To bring to light those things that lie in the recesses of people’s hearts. Those difficult feelings and experiences that are hard to talk about, and listen to.

In the Caregivers Voice

In FINAL YEARS ten caregivers share their stories of tough roads of decision-making, family dynamics, grief, and healing. I weave my own account through each of their chapters. Reading these eldercare and parent loss stories in the caregivers’ voice will help you know you are not alone but part of a “hidden tribe” who share a common bond. In FINAL YEARS I explore with caregivers:
  • Family of origin interactions, and our relationship with our parents.
  • How the declining health of aging parents impacted us emotionally and in our day to day life.
  • Whether or not siblings worked together to help declining parents. Was there conflict and if so, how did we resolve it?
  • How parent decline and loss changes us and the choices we make in our lives.
  • What decisions we have to make about parent care. 
  • Were we at peace with our parents before they became ill? If not, how we did or didn’t make peace with them before or after they passed. 
  • What happens to family dysfunctional patterns (if present) during parent illness?
  • What coping skills and resources people called on when dealing with aging parents and their deaths.
  • How we did or didn’t find support from friends in our grief?
  • What were experiences with health care professionals like? Were they were helpful or hindering?
  • What was clearing out the “stuff” in our parents’ home like?
  • Were there feelings that were hard to come to terms with surrounding our parents’ decline/death? Do feelings still haunt us? How we came to terms with them.
  • Did events or emotions like guilt and anger interfere with or prolong our grieving process?
  • How we resolved our grief; how our culture is with grief.
  • Unusual or unexplainable experiences after we lost our parents – what some people might call “paranormal.”
  • Advice for those coming into the care of aging or dying parents.

Helping parents’ transition through aging and death changes many adult childrens’ lives forever. It shakes our very foundation. Caregivers often feel alone and don’t know where to turn for support in a culture where sharing emotional pain may not be well-received. Many tears are cried as difficult choices with loved ones are made. My hope is that you will find guidance for navigating your way through your parents’ final years as you find yourselves in these stories.

To learn more about FINAL YEARS please visit my website You can find FINAL YEARS here on Amazon in Kindle format. Look for it in paperback around Christmas. 

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