“Old age is no place for sissies” – Betty Davis
I just ended a conversation with my sister who lives on the other side of the world and during our conversation she had moments of weakness when talking about our parents. My sister is the emotional person in the family, she is the one who would cry at funerals, weddings or farewells. Whereas, I am the one who will be feeling sad but somehow do a better job about keeping it under control.
It is not because I don’t feel sad, but I just seem to have a harder time in expressing my emotions. I want to pretend that I am tough, strong and in control most often and this makes me feel guilty. Guilty because while I am trying to show that I am strong and tough, to someone looking in, it might show that I am cold and aloof and don’t care. I do care, but trying to show it has always been hard for me. I am not the one who cries at funerals or in public. Of course I do cry, but most often my crying takes place in private, which often results in people telling me that I am strong. I tell them I am not strong, but I suppose it is hard to believe that when all they see is the strong outer personality.
As my parents get older or maybe I should say they are old, aches, pains, ailments have set in. My sis said to me during the conversation that she felt sad to see my dad, once a strong, proud man who was so independent looking aged and mellow and not as independent as he once was.
It upsets me and makes me sad to think that time is coming to an end for them soon. Maybe I am being melodramatic about things, but getting rid of my tough façade is no easy task either. Since I live on the other side of the world from my parents, I don’t see them as often as I would like to, which is probably why I bury my head in the sand when it comes to them.
It is now more than a year since I last saw them and I have wanted to go see them and somehow find reasons and excuses not to go. I realized that this is my way of maybe holding on to time and living in my little bubble of saying they are ok. I do call them almost everyday, I hear their voices and they constantly reassure me that they are ok and as much as I know it is not the case, I tell myself they are ok and go back into my little bubble, refusing to face reality.
Not seeing them makes it easier in my head or so I say. As much as I would like to continue to live in the bubble and not face reality, it is coming and there is no wishing it away.
In less than 2 weeks I am going to see them, spend time with them and face reality of what will be. But maybe till then I will go back to my cocoon and stay there and tell myself, they are ok.
I am terrified of how I will feel when I see them and wish I could just stay with my head buried in the sand, but reality has knocked and I think it is time to show my sister that she is not alone in the sadness she feels and that I am there with her and feel the same and share the emotional burden of seeing them age. It is time to get my head out, shake the sand off and go face what is ahead.