Family is King



By Yohanna Abdullah

Bapak, I am at my office at Bukit Batok East and you are having a meal near Jurong Polyclinic where you had your medical check. It is raining cats and dogs here but alhamdulillah it is light rain over there.

I am worried as Mak who usually cares for you is helping to look after the latest addition to our still growing family. You now have your third great-grandchild who has yet to be named. So Mak is busy with her brood in Pasir Ris. Yet her heart is with you, me and Ayesha at Jurong West. Being the ever caring matriarch, she is looking out for everyone. But she cannot be at two places at one time.

The same goes for me. Even as my feet and hands are at work, my heart goes for you as you make your way home. At the age of 82, you are already living your bonus years albeit with multiple health issues. This  week alone you have three medical appointments at different places.

You were happy just now when you went to the clinic, planning to spend time after that with your friends. However, you decided to rest at home after lunch as you felt giddy. This is a frequent complaint along with your swollen and painful legs.

I know I am not the only one to worry about the care of our elders. My colleague and good friend is right now with her mother in hospital. Her mum is around 90 years and has led a fulfilling life caring for her nine children. Club HEAL’s senior counselor Siti Hamidah Bahashwan and her mother Mdm Saodah Omar Bagharib are featured in Club HEAL’s newly published HEAL Newsletter Issue 20. This issue speaks about the special relationship between parents and children.

Life is a cycle and after being lovingly cared by our parents when we were young, it is our turn to show love and care to our parents when they are past their prime and when normal daily routines become a struggle or a jihad. Yet, they want to be there for us. As a divorcee with two children and managing an acute illness, bipolar disorder for 20 years, my father and mother are more my caregivers than I am theirs. Even in their 70s and 80s, I am the one who gets warded more frequently and for longer periods than them even with all their illnesses ranging from heart problems, to asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems and gout among other ailments.

As a family, we help one another in this challenging journey called life. We need one another. Be there for each other. Life is too short to hold grudges against our loved ones for real or perceived wrongs. Let us love – give and receive love. I texted something I rarely say to my dad. “I love you Bapak.”  Some things need to be said before it is too late.  I think he may appreciate it as much as the simple dinner of  Sardines Wrap I plan to make for us when I get back.

At 50, I can actually feel the seconds ticking by as we go through each new day and sleep most of the night away. A happy family life is the key to a successful and fruitful life.  To do this we have to forgive, ask for forgiveness, make amends and also new resolutions. We know we have but a limited time on this earth to be together but God-willing we will spend an eternity together in the hereafter in a beautiful and perfect union. Ameen.







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