some things are always difficult

A friend, whose father is in his nineties, is currently overwhelmed because he is in the hospital with multiple problems. As she runs around, trying to get him all the care and attention he needs, she is praying hard. I wish her all the courage she needs to face this and do the best she can, and with a sense of peace.

The fact is, seeing a parent (or anyone we care for) in a serious condition is always difficult whenever it happens, however much one can see it coming.

As an observer, how easy it is to say, but surely, at this age, it is expected? And when someone passes away, how simple it is for an outsider to say, but this patient was ailing for so long, surely they were ready for this inevitable end?

I don’t think it becomes any easier if the parent is older, or the illness is long. We may still not be ready for the situation to occur on a specific day, a specific moment. When someone has a heart attack, we hear others say in surprise, but I was talking to her this very morning! As if that means there can be no heart attack later in the day.

There are spiritual practices in most religions, and also many outside the ambit of any religion, that focus ion making us aware of impermanence. We read of them, we may even try them out, and then we say, we’ll do them later –  as if we have a guarantee that there will be a later time.

But all it takes for a world to turn topsy-turvy is a piece of food blocking the windpipe, a few breaths missed, a glitch in the heart. A moment or two, that’s all.  We are never ready for it, neither for ourselves, nor for others around us.

And yet, even as I write this and resolve that I will re-examine my attitudes  and priorities and so on, a tiny corner of my mind says – yes, tomorrow, because right now I am too tired to do justice to such a serious introspection. A tomorrow that may keep rolling on to other tomorrows and may not come…

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About Swapna Kishore
I'm a writer, blogger, and resource person for dementia/ caregiving in India. I have also been a dementia caregiver for well over a decade, and am deeply concerned about dementia care in India; on this blog I share my personal caregiving journey, my experiences as a resource person for dementia care, and musings on life, aging, dementia in India, and such sundries. More about me and the work I do for dementia care. For structured information on dementia, for discussions, tools and tips on caregiving issues, for resources in India, and for caregiver interviews, please check my website http://dementiacarenotes.in (or its Hindi version, http://dementiahindi.com). For videos on dementia caregiving (English and Hindi), check the youtube channel here.

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