>And what should I call this one that’s for the parents?

>It’s a full cycle. The parents who hold your hand when you’re learning to walk, hold your hand again 60 years later, but this time you’re teaching them how to walk. The last week and a half I’ve spent in hospitals in Lucknow and Gurgaon, tending to my dad. And in that short a span of time, I’ve seen him act like a petulant child, a wilful, rebellious adolescent and an ailing old man. And like you forgive your child all his follies, you learn to ignore your parents’ unreasonableness and love them still.

But it’s heart-wrenching – to see the man who always climbed two stairs at a time, who ran after you when he was teaching you how to cycle, who held you in his arms when you scraped your knee from a fall, lean on you for support. It’s heart-wrenching to see him fight invisible monsters that come in the garb of disease and age.

Dad’s bypass surgery has gone off well and he’s taking baby steps to recovery. But between his major angina attack last Sunday, the angiography in Lucknow thereafter and the urgent transfer to a super-speciality hospital in Gurgaon, my head and heart has had no time to rest. There’s been fear and hope and so much more of an undefined emotion that I cannot begin to explain it. I’ve seen my Dad’s bro breakdown at the news of the successful surgery, giving vent to years of sibling affection that men must not display by some warped convention of society. I’ve seen a friend, discharged two days ago from the same hospital after an angioplasty, wait for hours in the visitors’ lounge just for a glimpse of his friend. I’ve seen once again the strong support system that a family can offer…

And me? I’ve been angry and strong, brave and emotionally weak – all at the same time. But most importantly, as a daughter who’s stood by her parents through it all, I’ve proved there never was any need of sons to look after aging parents. And anyone who offers that as an excuse to want a son and wish away a daughter has no idea what a girl, a woman – daughter or wife, and even mother – is capable of. It makes me very proud that my mom and dad can look at their daughters and know that they are capable of taking on the world. And it gives me great satisfaction that to every person who scoffed at my parents for having “only” two girls, I have given a befitting reply.

And I’ve not been alone. At the hospital, there were so many mother-daughter duos like us. And they seemed in no way less equipped to handle an emergency than all the men who thronged the visitor’s lounge.

But my mother has been the bravest. If I learnt from my dad to be the person I am, I’ve learnt from my mother to be a woman. She’s been a perfect daughter – extending so much love and support to her own mother, giving so much of herself to her parents that I sometimes feel only daughters can.

But growing old is a strange thing. And when you’re over the 60-mark you do begin to think of the worst as not impossible. And that must be scary. Mummy asked me a couple of days ago if I would take care of when she grew old enough to not be able to do so for herself. She asked me if I would be “nice” to her… And I told her I’ll do exactly what she has done for her mother – never left her alone. I realised then that if children can ever repay their parents for what they have done for them, it’s by giving them love and security – and so much of it that it never falls short – when they grow old.

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15 responses »

  1. >Oh.. here is a big hug coming your way… to give you lots of support during this time. We will pray that he gets well soon.. dont you worry!!! I know exactly what you mean… my parents live with me.. and some days… patience just isnt enough… but when you weight that against what they've done for you… You feel little..And I totally agree… I beleive.. that women in general are more brave than men when it comes to emergencies… I dont know where the strength comes from… But I know sooooo many men who fall short of strenght… So hold.. on there girl!!! and just write in.. if you need anything.. hugs!

  2. >@How do we know: Thank you. The hospital is Medanta. World class stuff.@The Survivor: It's fun? Oh no! It's so bloody tough! Because you can't scold them like you would a child simply because you can't hurt their fragile egos by saying they're acting like a child!@Tara: Thank you.@Pat: Thanks Patty! You're so right – it's trying sometimes, but you've got to do the right thing because there is no other way!@Goofy: Thank you. I don't know if I'm a good daughter or not, but like I said, I try to be the kind of daughter I've seen my mother be.

  3. >D, dear dear D. I can soooo relate to this! My mother had multiple bypass surgery over a month ago too. I, being so far, was not able to be there…but my sisters were there. And all 4 of her daughters were there once she was out of the hospital. Yep, no sons here either, and there hasn't been a need!Take care! He will recover soon…just like my mom is recovering!When does he get home?

  4. >Hope he gets well soon D.. All the best.. I wish I was there, just to be with you.. You have proved it well enough that there is no need to have a son, just to make sure that the parents are taken care of. A daughter is equally well equipped to take care of her parents.. a Big Hug.. Take care. Need anything, just let me know…

  5. >The whole post is just so straight from the heart!I can understand your pride in taking care of mom and dad, helping them to be strong.So proud of u D. My prayers are with you!

  6. >commenting after a long time…hope your father is on his way to a complete recovery. its hard i know…my FIL went through a quadruple bypass almost three years ago and gave us a massive jolt of how fragile life can be. stay strong for them – daughters are the only ones who can give back unconditionally. and i say this with having two brothers.

  7. >i suddenly remember this 1969 song from the movie ek phool do mali"Aaj ungli thaamke teriTujhe main chalna sikhlaoonKal haath pakadna meraJab main boodha ho jaoonTu mila to maine payaJeena ka naya saharaMera naam karega roshanJag mein mera raaj dulara"MY BEST WISHES TO YOUR FATHER…MAY HE GET WELL SOON…though i beg to differ with u on some accounts, we shall keep those discussions for later… for now, take care…one other thing, i dont think it wud be proper to say that a child can repay the parents or even think so…it is just the progression of life…like the way u started, life comes to a full circle…and most of us realize our responsibilities as we grow up…and thanks to our parents for that… thats all we can do…thank them…love them…take care of them cuz with each passing day, we keep drifting apart…god bless all the parents

  8. >@Dee: Thank you for the wishes.@Aneri: I know, there are so many daughters who're taking care of their parents… Dad's home now,but still in Delhi.@Soulmate: I was thinking that too. All these months I never got a chance to come to Gurgaon. And now I was there every day of the week.Thank you for the wishes.@Bindhu: It's my duty as a child, but since society makes it seem like an impossible thing for a daughter to take care of her parents that I'm just glad to prove them wrong.@Suku: Dad's also had a quadruple bypass. And like he says, his heart is as good as new now :)@With Malice: Apt lines, had not heard them before. I agree that it is not proper to say that we can or do repay our parents. But what I meant to say was that 'IF' one were to try to do that, love and care would be the way.Thank you for the good wishes.

  9. >Hadn't been visiting for some time… hope your Dad's MUCH better.I know what you're talking about- my Dad used to be worse than my son in throwing tantrums when not getting his way in hospital. He used to terrorise my Mom, and I used to be called in as peacemaker/make-him-have-his medecines'er.And like you, I was a worthy daughter to him, as good as any son in his ailing moments, when I became a strong support to both my parents, physically, emotionally and financially.Hugs to you , and many good wishes to your Dad.(and Mom)

  10. >Beautiful! Had tears in my eyes by the time it ended.Your mother sounds so similar to mine, in that the way she took care of her parents.Though I am still not that good a daughter. I think a lot about her, but my actions need much improvement before I can be tagged as a good daughter.Very inspiring.

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