The Terrors In Seeing Your Parents Getting Older

The struggle in accepting and caring for your parents

Huzaifa Irfan (Account Closed)


Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash
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Seeing your strong and young parents getting older as you replace their charms and aspirations makes you feel as if they are limiting their age to gift you with years to live.

Every time I see my mothers struggling to get up on her own, I feel she has given all her powers to her children as they raise and feel the vitality of youth. My father has diabetes and has already lost weight, he has lost the power to lift heavy furniture — every little bruise on his body is slow to heal, giving him pain and suffering for months. Their bodies become a great source of discomfort for them as well as their children, and with passing years they have to depend upon their children, for one thing, and then another. Sometimes they have to depend upon caregivers for the necessities to clean themselves.

When we were children, our every innocent mistake gave them awe, and when they are old, their every innocent misstep worries us; the innocence of childhood is learning, and the innocence of old age is considered a “burden” for it decays as time passes. As they age, their age seems to reverse in childhood, to the point that they need assistance even to talk correctly. Having seen the oldest age of my grandparents, I remember seeing them crying for little things, even refusing to eat or take medications if something they wanted was not provided immediately.

The vitality of youth drives you to feel as if you can run with the speed of light, yet your parents are like snails, just taking little steps every minute; their slowness often makes children see as if they are losing on the life they’re imagining for themselves. The decision is hard to care for them or leave them to themselves; some parents eventually feel a liability in their children’s lives as they prefer them over themselves.

Some parents have been so hard on their children and themselves, that they would rather consider dying than constantly ask for help from very child they have raised. I remember the days when my father had extreme pain in his tooth, he didn’t express it to us; being weak and vulnerable to us was more painful to him than the pain in his tooth. Upon inquiry from my sister, she said, “Your father is refusing to go to the dentist, please convince and take him.”

When I sat down with him, inquiring about his painful experience, he sent an “all is okay” report. He is home after retirement, he was an officer in the government department and always had a servant to do things for him; with his wife already ill, he is unable to cope with loneliness yet he is hard enough to not accept being vulnerable. He has to show the strength he did not have anymore.

Since they have not grown up in the digital age, they’re like children who have to be safeguarded against harmful content; their mind starts to believe every conspiracy theory they hear, every lie told, and all the magic tricks of staying healthy by desi-health gurus. Since they turned to religion to find meaning in their new vulnerable life, they began the quest to cancel all who seemed to be against their values. Their mind doubts everyone, including their children sensing danger, and selfish interest.

Some parents might become a better version of themselves, but I have yet to see an aged person who seems to be emotionally well. Perhaps, this society doesn’t make one. Being emotionally mature as an adult, and being kind towards others in your life, makes you a beautiful person who shares positivity even in your last days, but we have to accept being vulnerable, we have to learn to be a beautiful flower to all when we can be kind.

It hit me hard when I saw my mother suffering from COVID-19, and I had to scream at the doctors just to bring some calm to her. Sensing her pain made me stronger to uplift her, take her to her necessities, and breathe with her as she was constantly struggling for a breath of life. The realization that one day, I would see my mother helplessly in bed dying traumatized me; seeing her struggle for one breath and then another, as the infected lungs fought the virus showed me all the horrors one can experience in hell.

Every person has to come to this stage one day; today your parents, tomorrow it will be you. No matter how hard your parents were to you, they need you to be as patient towards them as they were to you when you were a child.

The world doesn’t spare anyone, and if you leave them to suffer extremely in this old age, tomorrow it will be done to you by your children.

When you see them visiting doctors repeatedly, they are growing old; when they get tired with little exertion, understand that they are growing old; when you see them getting sad about little things and asking for the very thing they want, realize that they are getting old; when you have to wake up, every other hour in the night just to check them being okay, realize that they are getting old. Just as they remind you to take care of little things, wear your jacket, take your muffler, and be safe while driving, you will find yourself advising them for little things so that they don’t catch a cold — realize that they are getting old.

Just as they were adults for you, realize that it is your time to be adults for them. Be gentle, be caring, and be kind, for it is the right time to return the favor.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your quality time and attention.