Last night, I was faced with the fact that one day my parents will become old and feeble and will need us to take care of them. I also realized that I will probably be a hot mess when the time comes.
For the past week my mom has been in and out of the hospital after a fainting spell and a trip to the emergency room uncovered blood pressure and heart irregularities. After going through a “minor” heart procedure to hopefully correct the problem, my sis and I paid her a visit.
I hate hospitals. I don’t deal with sickness well and avoid wakes, viewings and funerals if I can. I never really know what to say to try and soften the physical and emotional pain of those who are suffering. So I keep away. And I internalize what those around me must be feeling or how I’d feel if I were in their shoes.
Up until now, there had only been one close family member I’d visit when she’d land in the hospital time after time: my 26-year-old vibrant cousin whose diabetes has slowly been taking a toll on her for years. And even then my visits would be short and quick with few words, half smiles and hopes that things would get better soon.
Seeing Mom lying on that bed last night, hooked to God knows what, barely able to lift her arms just got to me and I had to step out. To know that someday we’ll have to hand feed her, help her take her medicine and hold the phone up to her ear all the time was a tough pill to swallow. Yes, I’ve known this will happen, but I’ve always chosen not to acknowledge it. I’ve even brushed aside Dad’s requests to help him with his will. Doing that would force me to confront the fact that one day he won’t be around anymore and I cannot do that yet.
Naïve as it is, I like to think that my family will be around forever just so I don’t have to deal with the day after.
How do you handle sickness and death?