Understanding Our Parents
A True Story
on May 17, 2023
Former United States senator John Demint once quipped, "One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad." Mmmh, that's a great gem of wisdom coming from a politician, isn't it?
I don't know about you but for me, I am lucky to have parents I can call Mum and Dad. As the world prepared to celebrate Mother's Day last Sunday, I thought long and hard about the nature of my aging parents.
My Mum is extroverted but very forgetful. She likes sharing stories and has a tendency to talk to everyone in Kikuyu, our native language. Sometimes when she addresses a non-Kikuyu farmhand in Kikuyu, the farmhand has to mumble something in Swahili to make her switch to a language they can both understand.
Perhaps due to her poor mastery of the English language, Mum always refers to apples as pears, to TV remote control as charger, and to her bathroom faucet as chimney. I have tried to correct her several times about the real names of those things she misnames but my correction hasn't yet registered in her mind. That's how forgetful she is.
I first started noting Mum's forgetful memory in the year 2011 when she was a physically able shopkeeper in my hometown of Kiserian. Back then, she would sometimes call me "Njinju", then "Noru", then "Boti" before suddenly remembering that I am Thuita. (Njinju, Noru and Boti are my siblings.)
Since she was crippled by a stroke a decade ago, Mum claims she can't recall much of her past. She has sometimes had to rely on us in order for her to remember events from her past. There was a time she used to ask me if certain relatives attended the funeral of my Dad's sister in 2012.
About three months ago, I began instructing Mum not to tell me that I am sleeping when she calls me during the day. Despite warning her several times that she annoys me no end by telling me that I am sleeping in my room, she still forgets my instructions and asks me to wake up during the day.
Last Friday but one when she again vexed me for asking me to wake up at around noon, I commanded her to be telling me that I am reading, not sleeping. Given how forgetful she is, I wouldn't be surprised if she repeats the annoying habit of asking me to wake up when calling me during the day.
I however don't fault Mum for occasionally asking me to wake up because I used to doze a lot in my room during the day, a bad habit I struggled with for years and which I did away with this year. (Oh, there I go again - talking about my struggle with the emotion of sleep!)
Unlike my Mum who is extroverted, my Dad is more of an introvert. He rarely laughs. Neither does he share stories from his life. I always feel Dad has a lot of wisdom locked up in his head that could benefit people, especially my siblings and I. If only he were more talkative and outgoing like Mum!
Different though they are, Dad can be as forgetful as Mum. There was a night in 2016 or 2017 when he came home and absentmindedly poured milk into a container for a toilet-cleaning chemical. Both Mum and I laughed a lot about it, not understanding that Dad was just having one of those senior moments that are characteristic of old people.
Dad's forgetfulness has cost him money, for he has had to buy new cooking gas sooner after forgetting to switch off our gas cooker. Early this year for example, he left some tea warming on the gas cooker and forgot about it. 40 minutes or so later when he suddenly remembered tea was on the gas cooker, he went to the kitchen, only to find the tea had evaporated, leaving the sufuria (metal pot) as black as coal.
Recently, Mum informed me that Dad would have another surgery which was more serious than the one he had on his heart about two months ago. When I asked Mum which part of Dad's body was to be operated on, she declined to divulge more information to me. And I found it wise not to prod her into telling me more.
Dad had the surgery on the morning of last Saturday but one. The surgery made him spend three days in a hospital. And to this day, I am yet to know which part of his body was operated on. Suffice it to say that I was jazzed to see him come back home looking a bit healthy.
Because both my parents are sick and have pace-makers in their hearts, I have come to understand them when they become slow on the uptake. I have taken to heart the advice in the book of Sirach not to look down on our parents just because we are strong and healthy.
My beloved reader, I beseech you to also understand your parent(s) if one or both of them are still alive. Don't get so caught up in your own affairs that you forget they are also growing old. Honor and help them in any way you can. Belated happy Mother's Day!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on understanding our parents, you might also enjoy another one on "Honouring Parents" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
A Terrible Sickness
A True Story
on May 12, 2023
On the night of last Saturday, I felt some soreness in my throat. The soreness alarmed me that a disease could have been developing in my body. So I prayed that my sore throat would not snowball into a paralyzing disease. And I made a mental note to thank God if I didn't fall sick in the next few days.
But alas! Come Sunday, I became weak and feverish in the afternoon. I had to force myself to bask in the sun for an hour, hoping the sun rays would work magic on my body and restore my energy. The sun rays however didn't help me since I got weaker on Sunday evening after coming from my jogging and walking exercises. To make matters worse, I vomited some of the food I had eaten at lunch time.
I retired to bed on Sunday night feeling as frail as the leaf in autumn's yellow bower. And even though I was thinking clearly as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, I had a minor discomfort in my head that bordered on headache. But I didn't inform my Mum about my sickness because she had enough on her plate with Dad in hospital.
When my phone alarm rang on Monday morning at 5.30am, I was again feeling frail. I lacked the energy to jump out of bed with my usual enthusiasm. After dilly-dallying on whether to wake up or not, I thought it wise to rest my ailing body. And that marked the first time in the past four months when I have failed to get up at 5.30am.
I did wake up at around 8.00am on Monday to have my breakfast. Unfortunately though, I didn't have an appetite for tea and sweet potatoes, one of my favorite dish for breakfast. I just took three or four bites of a sweet potato and then hopped back into bed for more rest.
There seems to be something amiss with me. Since December 2021, I have been catching an illness every few months. And it's an illness with the same symptoms: fever, headache, vomiting, coughing, loss of appetite, and general body weakness. I am wondering if the illness is the dreaded COVID-19 disease. Thankfully, my illness has never landed me in hospital. I have just been recovering after a few days.
Last Monday when I felt most sick due to my usual illness, I stayed in bed the whole day. And I eventually disclosed my sickness to Mum who offered me some Panadol tablets. But I declined to swallow the tablets since I don't like taking medicine. I wanted my body to fight off the sickness naturally. And with a proper diet, I believed it could.
When it reached 4.52pm on Monday evening, I was still feeling weak. I also felt lazy perhaps due to staying in bed the whole day. But I defied the weakness and went jogging to my hometown of Kiserian as it is my habit.
Guess what! As I was jogging while lost in thought, I suddenly lost balance, tumbled on the ground and grazed my left knee. Some passersby were quick enough to say "sorry" to me. I acknowledged their sympathies as I stood up and then continued jogging.
After I stopped jogging and continued with the rest of my trip to Kiserian by walking, I was crestfallen to see blood oozing out on the spot where my falling had grazed my left knee. Damn! My body now had the double whammy of curing my sickness and healing the grazes on my left knee.
I don't know what caused me to suddenly lose balance and fall on the ground while jogging on Monday evening. But I tend to think it was as a result of the body weakness that had made me stay in bed the whole day.
Anyway, I began getting better on Tuesday. My appetite for food returned. And even though I dozed on my desk for a few hours on Tuesday, at least I didn't stay in bed the whole day like I did on Monday.
By Wednesday afternoon, I was my usual happy self again. Upon getting my mojo back, I took a shower and did a general clean-up that included washing my bed-sheets. You see, my Dad once advised me that it's hygienic to wash bed-sheets after recovering from an illness as that helps kill the germs that could have caused the illness.
The sickness I felt for three days was terrible, especially on Monday. Not only did it make me lose balance and fall on the ground, it also interrupted my daily habits. Now that I have recovered from the sickness as I pen this story on Friday morning, I can't thank God enough for my health. Truly, health is the greatest blessing.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about a terrible sickness I had earlier this week, you might also enjoy another one titled "What a Recent Illness Taught Me" that I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.