In all honesty, whenever I hear that one of my parents needs my help, my initial reaction is anger and resentment. Anger for all the times I’ve been thrown in jail for being an “unruly” child, or thrown out on the streets for being a “slut”. Anger because my father abandoned us for a younger, prettier family. Resentment because Mom and Dad were both in denial that they would ever get old and need to be cared for. They never planned for this. Dad used to always tell us that when he was ready to die, he would go out into the woods, lay down and die.
Right now, I feel I deserve nothing but to be enveloped in my new baby, but the needs of my parents are around every one of his milestones.
I understand my anger towards my parents is an attempt to convince myself that my parents don’t deserve my help. Selfishly, I want to simply live my life with carefree ease. Who can blame me?
I call Dad in the hospital.
“I heard you fell,” I say.
“No, that’s not what happened”, he responds. “I was driving through Missoula, trying to get home. I had to stop to rest, and I happened to stop here, at Providence Hospital.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re being taken care of, Dad,” I reply, as my eyes well up with tears. He is thousands of miles from Missoula and hasn’t driven in years. It’s never fun or amusing to witness the frail confusion of someone you love.
“I guess I didn’t realize how tired I truly am,” he tells me.
I remember something I read by Abraham-Hicks, that suggested that the best thing you can do for a person who is not doing well is to envision them in his or her highest, most resilent, healthy state of being. I go to one of Dad’s many boxes of photos I’ve inherited to find a picture of him in his youth to meditate on. I open a box I’ve never opened before to find two journals. In them, my parents have recorded my actions and outfits for the first two years of my life. I read some of the entries. My anger lifts like a fog and my resentment melts away. In their writings, I clearly see how human they are. In their notes, they love immensely and they are flawed, just as we all do and are.