Whenever we speak of spending time with our families, we tend to think of our children (for those of us with kiddos), we neglect to think of our parents and our grand parents.
In the past, whenever I attended a wake of a friend’s parent or grandparent, I’d tell myself that I needed to spend more time with mine. But, I got caught up with the tidal wave of mundane matters that I forgot about this promise. And to me, it’s because they would always be there. It’s UNTHINKABLE that one day, they would not be there anymore.
Until.. one day, my 93 year old grandmother had a stroke. The sprightly, independent, sociable lady was reduced to a mere shell of her former self overnight. From a fiercely independent being, cooking and cleaning (yes! Still! At the age of 93!), doing her morning qi gong classes with the neighbours, to one who needs help for the daily bare necessities. Not only that, the stroke affected her memory, so she is living in the present and even in the past, her memory indicator swings wildly like a pendulum. There are gaps in her memory. And this makes her fearful, suspicious, paranoid of everything and everyone.
It’s a difficult time for everyone, including herself. She’s frustrated, embarrassed and eventually suicidal.
It’s also extremely heartbreaking for my father. She’s been both his mother and father since he lost his father at the young age of 3 (my uncle was only 18 months old). She was the capable and unfatiguable mother who had been the permanent pillar in his life. So he makes it his duty to be always by her side, taking in her tirades and scoldings.
I regret. I regret taking her for granted, always believing that she’ll always be up and about. Facing the possibility of another stroke which will further incapitate her mentally and physically, I suddenly realize that time is short. There’s an hourglass, somewhere, with sand streaming through the tube and time is running out.
Is work really more important than someone who has taken care of me all my life? Is it worth spending time dealing with bad tempered, unreasonable clients who don’t care 2 hoots about who I am? Heck. Some of them don’t even remember my name!
It’s time to take stock of my life and priorities. I don’t want to live with regrets that I haven’t done enough. And I guess it also comes with age (damn! Getting old arh!) that I don’t exactly care too much about what others (refers to people whom I don’t see more than once a year) think about me anymore.