Sufficient Scruples

Bioethics, healthcare policy, and related issues.

November 28, 2009

“Love Them for Who They Are Now”

by @ 4:50 PM. Filed under Autonomy, Child-Rearing, Disability Issues, General, Personhood

Penn Jillette – magician, activist, raconteur, and all-round interesting character – posts this YouTube video in which he passes on what he says is the best advice ever given for relating to your elderly or incapacitated parents.

It is.

Thanks, Penn.

(See here for a similar observation from an equally-surprising source.)

5 Responses to ““Love Them for Who They Are Now””

  1. lauredhel Says:

    “Not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.”

    Maybe a transcript? Or summary?

  2. Kevin T. Keith Says:

    Sorry for the inconvenience. The clip is good – Penn is very open, emotional, and thoughtful. He passes on a quote from his friend David Greenberger – advice he gave to Penn as Penn was dealing with the slow decline of his own parents: “Get to know and love your parents for who they are now, and don’t mourn for who they used to be.”

    Penn then recounts his attempts to relate to his parents in their last days – his father slowly going deaf and blind, and his mother in pain and partially paralyzed – as they dealt with their illnesses and gradually lost their memories and personalities. It is obviously a very moving memory for him, and a time in which the advice he quotes played an important role in helping him handle the situation.

    “I would try not to remember all the time I spent with [my mother], and how vivacious and how strong she was . . . . I tried not to talk about that. I tried to get to know a really smart, really sad woman – a suffering woman, who couldn’t move her arms. I tried to get to know that woman and love her as much as I loved her younger form of herself. I tried to [get to know] a strong, powerful dad that I had, who was a jail guard and deputy sheriff. I tried to love him as a sweet, blind, mostly deaf, suffering old man who was still so, so happy, and loved me so much.”

    “So if you have parents or loved ones who are suffering, and who have changed – the advice David Greenberger gave to me, that I pass on to you, is try very hard not to mourn for who they were, but try to learn to love them for who they are. Because you’ll have plenty of time to mourn later. Believe me.”

  3. tgirsch Says:

    Good stuff. I’ve passed it on to some friends who just lost one parent and aren’t too far away from losing the other.

    I still have a really hard time reconciling the “good Penn” (this one) with the “bad Penn” (the condescending, small-minded prick on Bullshit!).
    .-= tgirsch´s last blog ..Weather Is Not Climate, Humor Edition =-.

  4. : Says:

    I always download a full show in parts, that’s always present at YouTube, since my network connection is extremely slow and YouTube fulfils my wishes.

  5. Hassie Mccawley Says:

    Really superb info can be found on site . “Life without a friend is death without a witness.” by Eugene Benge.

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