Thursday, September 13, 2012

Life is a cycle

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to spend the entire day with an old lady so dear to us. She was ill and it was her 5th day at the hospital. We walked in at room 334 and a warm, wrinkled smile welcomed us.

She smiles every time she sees familiar faces.  However, every time she sees someone in scrubs or white coat, she cries "NO NO, NO injection please!" When it's time for her meal, she wants to make sure her guests have food too. And when they don't, she offers hers. For her, guests come first. I guess she thinks, she's lying at home and forgets she's the patient, she's the priority. When the room is full of friends and family, she wants to see everyone sitting comfortably. When there's not enough chairs, she will tell them to sit on her bedside. Sometimes she will even offer her entire bed to us or she'll tell us to book the room next to her if  we wish to stay for the night. Now she thinks she's in a hotel. How sweet and funny that dear old lady is. :)

That sweet and funny old lady is my 90 year-old Lola (grandmother). I am who I am because of her. I was raised by my mama the way she was raised by her mommy. And the way I take care of my Lola now, is the way I was taken care of by my mama. Life is a cycle indeed! Let me give an example of this realization I had the day I visited my Lola.

Since she was ill, she had a hard time moving by herself so when she wants to get out of bed to use the commode, I would help her. I would carry her, take off her diaper, take it back and carry her back to bed. When I found the diaper with a funky smell, I changed it and dressed her into a fresh one. When I was a baby, and not just me, but all of us for sure, when we were all little patooties back then training for potty, our moms were there to assist us. That's what I meant when I said that life is a cycle. When we all grow old, we somewhat return to becoming a child. We become vulnerable all over again. We all need and long for someone to take care of us. Someone dear and someone we love. 

If you think of babies, they cry when an unfamiliar person holds them, don't they? When someone other than their parents feed them, eating becomes unenjoyable. Children left in the day-care eagerly wait for the time their moms or dads pick them up. It is the same with our old folks. In the deepest part of their hearts, they feel happy and better when they are in the care of their kids. When they are unable to do stuff they used to do, they appreciate when we lend them a helping hand. When they are alone at home, they eagerly wait for us till we come home from work and feel grateful that we arrive home safe. 

We Filipinos have embedded a culture of taking care of our parents/grandparents till their last breath. That's one thing I am most proud of in us. Here, most (but not all) of the old people live in nursing homes or some live by themselves. They work hard and make sure they save enough for their retirement so they can live comfortably and sufficiently. I guess they just don't want to be a burden to their kids. I just think, are we more of a burden than a joy to our parents when we were little? An even worse thought is if there are people left forgotten by their families in nursing homes. It's like a child being left in daycare because their parents forgot to pick them up. What a heartbreaking nightmare! 

In my own opinion, I guess the reason why my 90 year old Lola survives each day is because of the love of her family and her strong faith in God. Sometimes, love is the only medicine. Love is more powerful than any advanced medical invention. The drive and desire to live longer roots from the joy or jubilance of wanting to be with loved ones and to enjoy God's gift of life to the fullest. 

I promise that as long as my Lola lives, I will be there for her. Let's not take for granted our parents and grandparents while they still live. Let's make them taste a little bit of heaven while they are still here on earth. I am sure they will be happy to see how the fruits of their labors has flourished.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." -Exodus 20:12


PS: My Lola is better and can go home today! Thank you for everyone who prayed for her and for the overwhelming love and wishes we received from all of you. God bless you!


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