Long years ago, my parents decided they would not live in Mumbai after they retired, that they would go back to their ‘native place’ after their work life was done. My mom took voluntary retirement and off they went – in a vaguely traumatic journey in a flooded Konkan Railway train. It was the first time in my life I was not living in the same city as they were – and I remember feeling in some way that I had been orphaned. We’ve never been a very huggy, or even demonstrative family – but the separation hit me like a sucker punch. It put what I had taken for granted into perspective.
Still, it’s not like I’m the greatest at keeping in touch – not like my sweetheart of a brother, who phones my mom every night. But I’m working on it…
One of the reasons my mom went back to Mangalore was because her own mom was losing her memory and couldn’t place people she didn’t see regularly. My mom wanted to be close at that time, she took her food, she visited every day, she was there.
It was a privilege she made happen.
My father-in-law’s now having trouble with his memory; he’s 84 and it’s not too surprising… but he greets us with such happiness each time he see us. He kids me each time that he’s not seen me for six months, though we probably saw him two weekends earlier, but the fact that it is important to him is heart-warming.
Imagine you went to see someone elderly, important to you but whom you haven’t been able to visit for a while. And they had no clue who you are.
It can happen. It does happen.
It won’t matter to them – they will not remember that they’ve forgotten you.
It will matter to you.
Do something about it.
PHOTOGRAPH: g215/ 123RF