I’ve just dropped my mum off at the airport. It looked like a casual drop off. I do it quite often in the year. Going to airport and saying bye to my mum is like a monthly trip to Smyths (toy shop)- nothing really special. Luckily, my mum visits us few times a year, plus sometimes my dad joins her. Besides that, my mum-in-law flies whenever she can. Overall, welcomes and goodbyes at the airport aren’t extraordinary or deeply emotional for us. I’m really happy we feel like that because it means our goodbye is never for long 🙂 However, something has happened today…
After dropping my mum off, I suddenly started crying uncontrollably. I just couldn’t stop. I was shocked what was happening to me. My crying was so intense it was dangerous for me to drive. I had to stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway, hit myself on the face and pull myself together to reach home safe and sound. I managed to drive only on the slow lane, because tears kept coming on and off.
I don’t really know what triggered it. Well…let’s think… perhaps I know. But why now? Why so suddenly and so intensely? Maybe because that morning, I’ve learnt my neighbour’s sister died of cancer two weeks ago at the age of 62. Maybe because I’ve realised I cannot take anything for granted. Maybe because I’m not so strong anymore. Maybe because the reality hit me hard and in the seconds I’ve realised my parents are getting older and older. Maybe because I got really scared that … I will not see them soon or … I will not see them again… never.
(break for crying………. )
Ufff….so… Living abroad is not easy. There are great pros and even greater cons. I have always thought we had planned our life very nicely. Although we live quite far from our parents, we will be always there for them and we will see each other often. We have discussed lots of possible situations. I mean, what we are going to do e.g. when my dad/mum falls ill, when my husband’s parents fall ill, even when one of our parents dies. Technically and practically, we have prepared ourselves for any scenario. I just forgot to consider emotional side in all those situations…
Today, in a split second I’ve realised I live in a constant fear. It’s not even fear of losing someone. I’m afraid of not being able to be there, when they need me. Not being able to say those last few words. Not being able to say the final goodbye. Not being able to be there on time. Not being able to help, to support, to do something. Oh shit, what am I writing? What a dark thoughts.
Well… even if something happens, what will I do in fact? Will I be able to put emotions on side and help? Will I be strong enough for my son? Will I be the one who supports others and the one who needs support?
Parents were always there for me. They literally sacrificed their whole life for me. They have always supported me. They were awake every night I was not well. They didn’t care about anything else, I was their priority in life. So…. Can I ‘repay’ them when they need me? Of course, the relation between parents and children it’s not about repaying, but now I’m asking myself what I can really do for them. Maybe I still demand things and I don’t offer back enough…..
I had few discussions with my mum in the last 2-3 weeks about our next few visits- who is flying to whom, when and for how long. I got literally angry when mum said: “Listen, we are getting older and older every year, we won’t be able to fly as often as in the previous years”. I couldn’t believe what she said. I thought she has said that in some kind of anger. No no…. I understand now. They just don’t have the same power as few years ago. Both of them struggle with their own illnesses. They have lots of check-ups, appointments, hospital visits booked. Packing, planning, driving to airport, all airport checks- it’s all quite stressful for elder people. I am aware of that. It’s just…. I’m not ready to see them less. However, it’s not even about me anymore- it’s more about our Fabian now. He is missing his both grandmothers and both grandfathers a lot. Last night, he woke up after mignight and went to sleep with my mum, because he knew she will be travelling in the morning to grandpa in Poland. He just wanted to spent the last few hours with her…. ehhh. The same feelings are from grandparents’ side. They all are dying to see him, be with him or just spend as much time as possible with him. I promise here I will do my best in life, to make them see our Fabian as often as possible. So far, our son has 4 grandparents. I want this to stay like that forever, forever!!!!!
On top of that, our parents like to hide things, especially those related to their health. Can you imagine my mum didn’t tell me for two weeks (!!!) she had broken her hand. I found out by accident. She had to travel somewhere and I was supposed to book her tickets online. I kept asking her when should I book it, so finally she said she cannot go because she broke her hand. What if there was no travel planned? Would she tell me the truth?? If yes, then when? Eh…. My dad-in-law is exactly the same. Whenever he falls sick, he prohibits everybody around him from telling us the truth. I know I know, parents don’t want to worry us. They think it’s nothing major, so why should they bother us with such a trivial news? Eh… In fact, we feel more worried and double guilty when they tell us later on (or somebody else tells us….). Living far doesn’t mean we don’t want to participate in their lives or we are so busy with our life we don’t have time for their problems. Wrong!!!! We want to know everything about our parents, even if it is just a diarrhoea or constipation. Btw: Constipation is quite a hot topic in India 😛 That’s my honest observation 😛
I’m really emotional today, I’m sorry. My high fever probably adds some spice to it. However, writing helps me. It lets my feelings to come out and not to get crazy. Thanks for reading and riding on the roller coaster of emotions with me.
I’m pretty sure many of you guys are in similar situation. I’m still lucky Poland is relatively close to the UK with plenty of connections each day. In emergency, I can be there in a few hours’ time. However, my parents-in-law live in India. The thought of flying to India in emergency makes me feel like crying even more…. I cannot imagine that, I cannot, I don’t want to! Oh God…. wish life was easier.
I’m scared… so scared…
Our Fabian with his four amazing grandparents