Layers of Life

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

I am probably cheating a bit here by not sharing one of my own photos for this week’s photo challenge, instead I am sharing an old photo of my beautiful parents in the bloom of their life.

Mum and Dad before I was born


I am reminded of the quote “Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep”.

When I saw the prompt for this week’s Photo Challenge asking us to share a photo that shows a sense of layers, I immediately thought of this quote.

I have just spent time with my mother who now lives alone as my father is in a care facility due to having debilitating Parkinson’s Disease.  During my visits to him I took the opportunity to look around at the other residents and wondered to myself, what sort of old lady will I be in years to come?

Our lives are made up of many layers and they dictate who we are and who we become to some extent.

Will I be the querulous old lady who demands non-stop attention and who tests everyone’s patience; or will I be the sweet faced old lady who sits quietly and does what is expected of her; will I try to escape at every opportunity; or be the one who asks the staff if my booking is confirmed for another night at this resort; or will I not know who I am or where I am or who is visiting me??

My father was once this amazingly handsome, clever, funny and interesting man who is slowly fading away before my eyes.

The staff all think he’s wonderful (which he is of course), they all like him due to his easy compliant nature, his quirky sense of humour and his natural sparkling personality which manages to flash every now and again.

He doesn’t complain, he doesn’t cause many problems for them and he tries hard to stay involved with activities and people. My father was once this amazingly handsome, clever, funny and interesting man who is slowly fading away before my eyes.

He is still my father and we shared some great memories during my visit.  I even joined him at the drumming session, which was loud, noisy and chaotic.  It was fun and the happy faces around me showed me how much enjoyment these types of activities can bring.

It’s not the life either of my parents expected to have in their later years, but whoever knows what life will bring? My mother is having to learn how to be resilient, how to cope on her own, make decisions, be on top of everything, stay in touch with friends and family, take care of herself and she is doing a great job under the circumstances. My one piece of advice, if you can ever give your mother advice, is to learn how to pace herself.

1960 with dad

Life is indeed like peeling the layers of an onion and can make you cry, but it can also make you smile and be thankful for the life we’ve had.

We just need to make the most of what we’ve been given and appreciate our life at every stage.

Mum and dad have always been great teachers and they are still showing me the way ahead.  I just hope I can follow their great example.

Post update February 2018: I wrote this post in September 2017 and I’m sorry to have to tell you that my gorgeous father passed away on 25 January 2018, so this post is especially significant to me right now.

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World here – I’d be delighted if you’d join me.

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Layers of life are like the layers of an onion. Musings about aging parents.
Layers of life

98 Replies to “Layers of Life”

  1. This is a beautiful reflection and so insightful! I loved the image of you and your Dad playing the drums. I’d be loving the drums if I was in your Dad’s position but I’d probably sneak out and play them at the wrong time.

    And Deb – I think there is no doubt that you will be a shining light that will charm your carers with stories from your amazing blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie! I’m sorry to say that dad passed away in January this year, so these memories are lovely to have. I have every respect for careers in these nursing homes and can’t thank them enough for their care of dad.
      I can only imagine what stories I’ll tell when I get to that age 😊


  2. Oh my. You already had me crying before I got to your announcement. I am so sorry for your loss. As much as I am loving my midlife years, I was not prepared for the simultaneous parental decline and demise. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean about not being prepared for the decline and demise of our parents! I didn’t mean to upset you but I needed to write down my thoughts at the time. Thanks for your kind message. X


  3. I am so very sorry for the loss of your wonderful father. Your parents were beautiful, and it sounds like that never changed. This is a lovely tribute to both of them, and a reminder to the rest of us to appreciate those many layers of our life (and of our parents), even the ones that make us weep.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh how your words drew my parents back to me in a most powerful and profound way. Your photos and words could have been my own so closely do I relate to your words. Great post, thank you for sharing your love and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s strange to think about what we’ll be like when we’re elderly isn’t it Deb? My dad had big plans on how he was going to spend the inheritance my mum came into – but by the time it happened he had dementia and never got to participate in any of it. It’s made me aware of enjoying the life we have and being prepared for what lies ahead but not waiting for it to happen because we don’t know what lies in store for us. I’m glad your dad is doing well where he is – it makes it easier for everyone that way. Thanks for linking up to our #MLSTL party – I’ve shared this to my social media x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leanne. I’m sorry to hear of your dad’s inability to do all the things he wanted to do. It’s important to do what we can when we can as we never know what’s around the corner. I wrote this post last year and my dad sadly passed away last week. We’re together with family now planning his final send off so it’s been quite a hard time. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad to be a part of this exclusive group of likeminded bloggers 😊


  6. Well you have me in tears Deb as I know your current situation. Thank you for selecting this beautiful article to share with us at #midlifesharethelove link up. I know you are hurting at the moment but your Dad would be so proud of you. Sending love and hugs. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It hit very close to home. I’ve recently moved in with my 77-year-old mom after my dad passed away. I’ve had a lot of those kinds of thoughts, too, lately. Started blogging about my experience of being roommates with Mom; helps me to verbalize what I’m feeling. Thanks again! I enjoy your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melanie, I wish you well with your new living arrangements, it’s a hard time of life in many ways. What you’re doing is very caring and supportive. Take care of yourself too. Sadly my dad passed away last week and were with family now ready for his funeral.


  8. What an honest and heartfelt relay of the experience you are going through right now. I lost my father 21 years ago quite suddenly. Four years ago my grandfather who took his place by my side took a turn for the worse. I’ll never forget my grandmother driving me to the facility at which he was recovering from a series of operations, “His life is just ebbing away.” It gave me goosebumps, and to be honest she was so run down by the quick pacing that her spirit had begun to fade in her pupils. Advice for your mom as well, take care of yourself. ❤ You are one lucky girl to have such amazing parents!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I have a lump in my throat. The picture of your parents is adorable, as is the one of baby you with your dad. As I get older myself, I still can’t get my head around it all, my aging parents and then to make sure my own children will be OK when I’m not here too. It makes me feel so melancholy 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean zen, it’s sometimes so hard seeing them as they were compared to now and knowing it will happen to us too one day. I didn’t mean to be melancholy I wanted to get my thoughts down! Thanks again for reading and enjoy every moment. 😊


    1. Oh bless you Suz, I didn’t mean to make anyone teary! I agree with you, now is the time to get out there and just do it! I’m sooo looking forward to Fiji, the wedding and seeing Melanie again of course 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment and your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful Deb and I am sure you will be the one organising all the social trips, dressup days and functions in the nursing home. Hope I get to go to the same one as you it will be fun xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I clicked on your post yesterday afternoon as I wanted to read it but I ran out of time. I now think it was the universe at play that a made today the day I read this beautiful post. Today is my deceased Godfather’s birthday. Your post gave me some comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Michele, for your kind comments. I was torn whether to write it or not, as it is so personal, but decided I had to get my thoughts down while I had the chance. My mother was very pleased to read it, which I was happy to hear! Life is full of layers. Lovely to hear from you, and know you came via Bloggers Pit Stop. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love your post and pray I’m that person who does what’s expected of me. Our family has gone through a tremendous amount of death recently. We worried my mom would be next, but I’ve never seen her so strong!!
    Thanks for sharing this at my party!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Debbie, I found you at Susie’s party. Loved the read. I often wonder about the challenges of old age and how I would cope with it. Though it seems to be a far away thing, I know I will be there some day. Your writing throws light on a lot of things related to coping with old age. Thank you for writing about it in such a wonderful way ..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Debbie, this is such a lovely post. It is real and despite the freedom that all the empty nesters have, life does not go on forever. We all need to take care of our lifestyle choices that may enhance our quality of life. Your parents look so beautiful and it must be hard, especially to see your dad not able to be as he once was. I think we should feature your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A very heartfelt post and I really enjoyed reading about your love for your parents. It makes me remember my father who slowly disappeared before my eyes from cancer at a very young age. Glad your mom is doing well in handling this situation and hoping things go well down the road for you and your parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve begun to think that we don’t really get to know our parents until we’re older. I look at pics of my parents then & now and think of those same layers. I don’t think it occurs to us to wonder about their ambitions or dreams or disappointments until we’re dealing with their aging. This was beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh this is really beautiful and timely for me as I shared a wedding pic of my parents from 1963 this past week (it would have been their anniversary). My dad passed away 6yrs ago next month and he had dementia for 5-6 years before he died. Interestingly his long term memory was mostly okay and it was his short-term memory that was the problem. He’d also had a heart transplant (in 2000) and my mum was his carer from that point on. It’s sad to see your parents going through stuff like that, but you’re right it’s a reminder that life’s short. My dad’s passing was one factor in me making my seachange the following year. I realised I was looking down the barrel of an unhappy life and it wasn’t what I wanted.

    xxx #teamlovinlife

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah for your understanding. It is hard to watch happen and it’s not often talked about openly so I made a decision to write my thoughts down. I hope your sea change has worked out for you and your life is happier now. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a heart warming post Deb. So challenging to see our parents age and change. I think you will be a lovely little old lady who organizes the rest of the nursing home crowd to go walking in the gardens of the courtyard.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This post was so timely! I had the same type of discussion yesterday, with one of best friends and cousin. We’re like our mothers, close friends throughout life. They’re now 87 and 85 respectively, still in relatively good health. They both had many kids, so there are many of us to care for them. Times have changed though and I have no idea about where we will end up at their age.
    I don’t even have kids! And I may be together with Desley, asking if I’m booked in at the resort! 😆
    Above all, your post was heartfelt and insightful, and I could feel the love and care for your parents in every sentence.
    You will be loving and caring, Debbie, your whole life. No doubts.
    Thanks for a beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words Lucile. I’m glad to say my mother liked it too, which is good 🙂 I just felt I had to get the words down while they were fresh in my mind. It’s funny how things can be so timely like that. Take care!


  20. Clicked over from the Blogger’s PitStop
    Beautiful photos and beautiful post! Bittersweet.

    When we are young we look at “old folks” – whether in a facility of some sort or not – almost as if they are from some other planet. As we get older, we worry if our own parents are headed in a similar direction — and then if WE are, as we get older still. Inside, however, we are still US throughout our lives – peeling layer after layer of life’s onion.

    I am glad that you still reach out to your father and can see the “person” your mother is struggling to reveal. Thanks for posting this. I wish my own parents were still alive for me to be able to share something similar.

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 1 person

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