As I walked in the garden today, I suddenly happened to chance on an old women sitting lone on a bench.
Her eyes were closed, her breath was steady as she was doing her customary breathing exercises.
A few rounds later, it was my last round, so looking up to her, and seeing her looking at me, I smiled and waved good bye, as I was about to leave the park.
She smiled back and looking approvingly at me, told me that she needed to walk too, and her children always goaded her, telling her that she should keep fit by walking, but somehow she said she was just not up to it.
I told her to relax and not stress too much, but if she could walk a little with her walking stick, she would do herself good as her muscles would strengthen slowly and not stiffen up.
She smiled and said she would try to do so.
Feeling of Loneliness
Then all of a sudden a burst of emotion sprang up within her, and she told me that she missed her partner, her dear husband who died a few years ago, and with whom her bond had been so strong, that nothing else mattered.
Now she felt all her children had teamed up against her, and she was a lone recipient of all their advices and judgements regarding how she should conduct herself socially etc. She said she had become so sensitive, that she felt very lonely and depressed.
I remembered my mother then, who expired 5 years ago, telling me the same thing.
Then I could not understand her, and felt that she was just being oversensitive, and of course as dutiful children we had her best interests in mind.
Our elderly parents need understanding, and as children, we do everything possible we can, except the one important aspect which they so truly require, and that is understanding.
Understanding them may not be so difficult if we just put ourselves in their shoes.
Just imagine, in their own homes, where they were so indispensable, when home was never the same, without their warm touch, where lying down on the couch, you would just yell out ” Mom what’s for lunch?”
When anything at home was amiss, it was taken for granted that she would set things right, where was she now?
Or remember the days when you were short of funds and Dad would happily fund you, or the days when times were tough and you would just go up to them for a comforting word and no sooner did they comfort you, you felt you had won the world over.
No matter what they loved you unconditionally.
Okay now so what if some of us did not receive their love and kindness as mentioned above, maybe for reasons best known to them.
It could be due to their stressful circumstances or anything else, could we just get ourselves to the point of we don’t know why?
Could we give them that benefit of doubt in the form of understanding them now.
Now is when they need us to understand, they are helpless and lonely, as a transition has occurred in their lives, they transited from a world of worldly duties to a world where they require duties to be conferred on to them, as they await the setting of the sun in their lives.
Well here is where we need to have a transition in the way we look at performing our duties towards them.
No I’m not going to make it difficult for all of you out there who have to transcend the way they perform, cause if I do so , I’ll never forgive myself, I just want you to know it needn’t be so bad after all.
I wish I thought this way earlier, well this one is for the one who doesn’t want a regret later.
Dear friends, everything passes on, except the feeling of regret.
Its simple darlings, but why do the simple things seem most complicated?
Cause we do not want a change, in the way we look at things.
That is why things move round and round in a circle.
We work at what we know best and are habituated to over the years, and if there is one thing none of us are habituated to is listening to elders who need our help, emotionally, morally and physically.
Most of the time we can physically provide for them, but in the emotional and moral front we can land up with zeros.
We feel we have to walk the whole path, to reach them emotionally and morally.
They just do not seem to understand too.
We are responsible for everything at home, and when we are physically and mentally drained here pops out their demands.
Oh please come and sit with us, we are lonely, or can you take me to the garden etc .
You can hire all the help they need, but they are not satisfied.
However understanding them can lead to wonderful solutions, as one of them did tell me, all they wanted was a feeling of belonging, yes this was their home too, and they would love to call their friends over, and decide the menu for the day.
Yes it seemed simple didn’t it, this dear lady told me that her building friends, all four of them were quite lonely after the death of their spouses, and if they could call their friends over, it would be wonderful, considering their turn would be once a month.
As long as you live, relationships are a part of your life, and they are the crux of living.
Also a sincere advice to all of us who are also going to someday be where these dear elderly ladies are today.
All our life we run away from loneliness, only to be cornered by it at the fag end of our lives.
The word frightens us, and we seek outward sources, in the form of attachment, and entertainment, creating relations which are not actual, as all the time they are made, by us due to our self centeredness.
We marry and want children because we do not want to be lonely during our later years, In India especially, we stay with our children and put up with their whims and fancies almost giving our everything to them, till we can, just to shirk loneliness and the fear of being uncared for during our last years.
Will it not the same?
Their story and ours?
Nature we feel is designed so, but no, it is not so,
If it were then loneliness would be uncalled for.
Reproduction is a life process, and it is required for continuity, of the human species.
Can we not just do so, without bringing in images designed by our self centeredness, images of rights and wrongs, likes and dislikes.
Why do all our relationships centre around us.
” Let me do this for him, so he will also care for me,” etc
Then why are we cornered eventually by the very loneliness we shirk.
Is not then this loneliness from within?
Truly look within, and we will know, that everything we’ve created outwardly, is just for our inner solace, and outwardly things can change.
You make contacts, if you want to promote your work, or be famous, and make friends so that you are not alone.
Well everything changes, except that inner you. You keep your aims , desires and images , they do not leave you, and when the outside world says good bye you are where you are. In isolation and loneliness.
When dependency and attachment are your friends, then there is isolation, as these ladies feel today. All of a sudden they were in the midst of activity and were glowing with pride, attached to their homes and families and then outwardly all entertainment was within their reach.
They also formed images of right and wrong, and conflicts were a part of everyday life, unknown to them. Well however, it was then that they could deal with these, today, they are lost as they are immobile, and dependency has increased,
Today their very images of ideal life, and ideal families are creating these conflicts thus making them lonely and unhappy.
So guys keep fit and do your bit, unattached with no dependency and expectancy on any one , thus enjoying your days today and tomorrow, and not holding on to any preference, or image, and rest assured then that the flip side, which will meet us in the morrow, with its lows will have its highs too.
Then and only then their story will not be ours. We will create our own…..