Short Take: Relationships, Family
Recently, I took leave to accompany my Mum to a medical appointment. My parents tend not to want to trouble us children and it takes a lot of convincing to let us do things for them, especially when it comes to medical stuff. So I was surprised that this one was an easy sell!
I try to do this for my parents and even close friends, because people are often apprehensive about doctors and medical appointments. As a physio who’s worked in healthcare for 15 years, I know that to many people, the hospital is an intimidating place. This is especially for the older generation, who gaze up in awe of healthcare professionals and are often afraid to ask questions, raise objections, and take a more active stand in their healthcare. Then they leave still having questions, doubts and fears, which is unfair. It happens though.
This time I was glad to be on hand, and having clarified all her doubts we left. It made me happy to see mum arrive at the hospital apprehensive, and leave it feeling positive. I was immensely happy to be there to offer a bit of strength and support.
After it was over, Mum brought me to a restaurant she’d been telling me about for a while, The House of Roasted Duck at Bugis. Here we enjoyed some very good duck noodles, and engaged in a rare mother-son only lunch and conversation. We also took our very first mother-son wefie. Then I sent her home.
Being the incorrigible thinker, this day’s events got me thinking.
Privilege to Help Your Loved Ones
It’s a great joy to be able to help your loved ones, be it to give comfort, consolation, or care.
We often think love feels great because we receive so much. But an equal privilege is that love allows us to give too.
It can be your time, your energy, your feelings, and even your words. But at the right time, it can provide enormous relief and succor. That has to be one of the most precious experiences love gives us – the ability, the right and the responsibility to contribute something to another person you love. For many, having a sense of purpose in another person’s Life is a very powerful force and motivator for good.
There are many cycles in Life, some easily recognized, others less discernible. Some people have never experienced much family love and my heart goes out to them. Most of us have, however. And we certainly benefited from the love of those who cared for us as we grew up from vulnerable little things, to independent adults.
But there is a cycle here. As we grow up, our carers age. And as we enter the prime of our Lives, our carers enter the twilight of theirs. It is here that we can play a different role in each others’ Lives, and return some of which was given so freely without motive other than love, and experience the same ourselves.
Don’t Wait Till Something Happens to Say (or Show) I Love You
I’m glad we have a very close family, and we make it a point to have dinner together at least once a fortnight. It’s true that working in a hospital, and running AA35 takes up all my time. It’s true that my brother’s business means he often works irregular hours, has to sleep in the day at times, and meets clients on weekends and public holidays.
But it’s also true that our loved ones are at least as important as our jobs or businesses. In the same way we prioritize those important aspects of our Lives, we also need to prioritize our loved ones. Quality time with the people we love cannot simply be a matter of filling in whatever gaps happen to be left after business- or work-related affairs have filled up our calendars.
And if I can schedule a client for personal training, schedule a professional speaking engagement three months out, and work on setting up an AA35 YouTube channel, there’s no excuse why I cannot schedule time with my family as well.
Yet this is exactly what many people do. It’s not that they don’t love their parents… it’s just in Life there are 101 worries, concerns, and stressors, especially if they have families of their own.
There are many things that you can put off. But you shouldn’t. It’s like health and fitness. Many people don’t look after their health until something happens and it scares them. Likewise with parents, most people don’t actually make the time because somehow, it just isn’t as important. But when something happens that scares you, it may be too late.
Working in the hospital during my inpatient days, I saw all too well what this led to. At the end, children suddenly had time to come by everyday, sit down by a parent’s bedside, hold their hand, cry, harangue healthcare professionals. Suddenly, it seemed like everything else could be put after their parents. Business meetings could be cancelled, projects postponed. The overwhelming emotion? Regret.
So don’t let this be you. If you are lucky enough to have been brought up in love, and you still have your parents or carers, PRIORITIZE them.
It doesn’t have to be something BIG. When we were waiting for the pharmacy to prepare the medication, we bought a pau each and ate and talked while sitting in this very serene setting. There was a joy and happiness in this simplistic activity that cannot be priced, and which doesn’t cost anything to have, just a bit of time.
So choose ONE DAY a month, to begin with, and plan to do something with your loved ones, especially your parents. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, just make it a meal together, but a relaxed one. Not a functional plow through the food, but one in which you deliberately plan to have with leisurely, long conversation. Make it a weekend or take a day’s leave. Believe me, if you’ve not done this for the longest time, and have lost touch a little, you won’t regret that you did.
And 10, 20 or more years later, you’ll certainly be glad that you did… each and every time.