I should know. I was caregiver for my late wife for seven years and for my late father for two. Both were as different as chalk and cheese in terms of the quality of the experience of caring, but in retrospect with time to reflect and having read up more on the experiences of others, I can say that there were some common features that I should have identified but missed and hence made both the care giving and the care receiving a painful process as far as my experience with my father was concerned.
Why am I suddenly raking up the past? I am neither a caregiver nor a care receiver at present and I hope that I will never become the latter ever.
One of my son, Ranjan’s young friends had been having problems with providing care for his retired widower father and had confided his problems with him. Ranjan suggested that the young man, let us call him Dilip, talk to me and so he called on me last week and shared his problems with me. I in turn shared my experiences of what I did as a caregiver for my father and also what I should have done differently and what I should not have done at all. He seemed to have been relieved that his experience was not unique and went away with the intention of taking my advice on some matters that were his current problems.
During my caregiving days I was quite active on the caregivers group informally and formally via blogs, mail, personal contacts and facebook and one such contact of those days, JS contacted me on the messenger on facebook on reading my post on Justification with advice and we had a very fruitful exchange there.
These two instances coming one after the other last week got me to reflect on my own experiences as currently I am going through a whymeitis phase with a cold / fever phenomenon attributed to the changed weather conditions by my GP. This temporary setback made me think that if I can be so debilitated with a garden variety cold due to my senior citizen status, I may end up like my father did receiving care from a son and that I should try and not be like what my father was to me.
My reflections during the last few days has given me some insights which I need to firm up before I share them with my readers which I will do shortly as a sequel to this post.
This handsome young man is my grand nephew Vedesh.
He posted this poster on his facebook wall:
I left a comment: – “I prefer silence. From the audience that is. Who would not like a captive audience to listen without responding?”
I then discovered this scene in Matheran.
I have been there and done that there. I have been at the speaker’s end as well as the captive audience. Highly elevating experience I can assure you, but what one really likes to do there is to be in perfect silence. And in that silence, the mountains and valleys speak to us.
Grannymar‘s Sunday oneliner this week is: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
~ Dr. Seuss.
Yesterday, my sister Padmini published a photograph from her collection on her Facebook wall.
This is my late wife Urmeela with our son Ranjan during our halcyon days. I did not even know that this photograph existed and do not remember when this was taken and by who. It did however affect me enough to make me a bit melancholy till I came across another photograph taken more recently.
This is my daughter in law Manjiree with my son Ranjan taken just a few months ago.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising & appreciating what we DO HAVE.
Ramana: Did the first three panels happen? The last one does!
Ranjan: Yup! What goes around, comes around! 🙂
These kind of things keep happening to me all the time!
I do not know quite what prompted my friend Nandu to post this poignant picture on his Facebook page today, but this fits in quite nicely with my earlier LBC post on Out Of Sight Out Of Mind.
I only wish that I had had access to it before I published my post.
A friend posted this on FaceBook.
While I agree with the general direction of the quote, I prefer to live and die like the thorn bird though perhaps it is now too late.
“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.”
~ Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds