A Faltering Parent
When I turned 57, it was a time to look forward to so many things we ( my husband and I ) had promised ourselves we would do.
Our children were now well settled , happily busy with raising their own families. We were free or so we thought.
And then came an early morning call from a cousin, saying that father had had a stroke and we should reach immediately. We flew out to be with my parents. My mother was too shocked to be able to even think straight.
Hoping that somehow the doctors and medical aid would help us bring him back, we took him to the ER of a local hospital. The doctors worked hard on him but all to no avail. Ten days later he passed away.
Our lives' goals changed that day. Our plans to travel and see the world had to be postponed. Mother came to live with us and her welfare became our prime responsibility. She was 82 at that point of time. We were very happy to have her with us.
What I failed to appreciate was that everyday she was growing older. And because I would see her on a daily basis , her passing away seven years later, was more of a shock than I had expected.
All around me I see how my friends are trying to cope with similar problems of taking charge of the well being of a parent. Days and nights are dedicated to the parent. Visits to the Er and doctors clinics take precedence over everything else.
This is the reality of life these days. When a parent falters , someone has to be the caregiver and usually it is the son or daughter. When parents are living into their 90s, we have to learn how to cope with the tasks of caring for them , getting ahead with our own lives too.
I feel it is important to be prepared for the call of duty when it comes. If siblings are there( I have none) then the responsibility can be shared. The older the parent gets it is reasonable to expect a deterioration in their faculties.
My mother was very alert and mentally sound till the end but she had weak eyesight and had lost a great deal of her hearing. There were times when I had to speak very loudly so that she could hear me, but then she thought I was shouting at her.
She had fractured her femur. The general condition of the bones was very soft and that is why she ended up with a frozen shoulder too. The physiotherapist was afraid to apply much pressure fearing another fracture.
Everyone tells me that 89 is a good age to have seen all the best that life has to offer, but till now I cannot get over the fact that I have lost my mother.
I still think could I have done things differently for her? Were the doctors negligent in their care for her? The questions keep coming to mind everyday.
The immediate caregiver will always have a sense of guilt but one should not let it take over one's life. Finally, we all have to bow to God's Will.