My father passed away in January 2022. As a man of God, he was “chasing the lion” and was working too hard until he suffered a stroke. Even then, he didn’t give up and continued working even when he was confined to a wheelchair. Finally, he was paralysed after several strokes later. His health slowly deteriorated . It was painful seeing him lying on the bed and slowly losing his speech, from struggling to speak to not being able to talk at all. Then one fine day, while my mum was preparing his dinner, he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
As a person living with a slip disc, I felt useless around my father. I couldn’t carry him to his wheelchair or lift him up even for a little while. My back would hurt. The least I could do was to drive him and mum around. COVID robbed me of 2 years from meeting with my father. As a person who is constantly in contact with other people, I only visited my parents when I was fully vaccinated. Until then, I didn't want to put my parents at risk as no one knew how bad the COVID situation was going to be.
I wish I was more vulnerable and could park my ego aside. As I got older, I started to become more sensitive when wrong words were thrown at me. I knew I didn't live a perfect life. I had my shortfalls. I never lived to the standards that my late father expected of me. Looking back, I wish I were as strong as my mother. She just took it in her stride, committed them to God and continued to stay at my father’s side until he returned home to the Lord.
I pray that I am growing in honouring and respecting people who are both much older and much younger than me. It doesn't matter if a ‘ciku’ is an old ‘ciku’ or a young ‘ciku’; a ‘ciku' is a ciku. At 43 , there are people much older and much younger than me. I seem to get along with younger people but the older ones are a different story altogether. I must learn to be humble and be tolerant of older people as they are God’s creations too.
I also need to learn to have a deep inter-generational conversation with those older and younger than me. Since my father passed away, my uncle and two other people I loved and respected have also returned home to the Lord. Everytime someone older passes away, memories of my father would come back all over again. I will go through another turmoil. I guess the older you get, more people you know will pass away. Older people have a lot of stories to tell. The older they get, the fewer people they have to hangout and tell their stories.
I pray and hope you will have the privilege to share your lives with the elderly and I will pray they will impart words of wisdom to you in return.