Love them here and now

Living with their grown-up children, elderly parents must feel as though they are sitting under the big oak tree they have planted and enjoy the cool shade. But how many parents are enjoying such a privilege? In many a household, pets get better treatment than the old parents living there. How to justify such situations? Is it because we are all so busy growing up and forget our parents are also growing older by the day and require care and love more than they needed when they were young and strong themselves?

We hardly spend time with them – one ‘good morning’ and one ‘good night’ – this is the exchange of conversation between elderly parents and children in some households. In many cases, even that bit of cordiality will be missing. The rich, fashionable and socially conscious children give expensive gifts to parents – sort of pacifiers and external symbols, not knowing those presents and gifts can never replace their empathy, care and love. Elderly parents need our ‘presence’ much more than our presents.

Parents take risk, make decisions, try and smooth the road ahead for their children to move forward – their sacrificing nature is their virtue, but that virtue will make them appear weak and vulnerable to some children. They capitalise on that virtue, by demanding more and more. But in return in their old age, parents are pushed to one corner in the house and to a very remote corner in their children’s life too. Once parents are dead and gone, how much ever one repents and cries, they would never ever return. Treating them with love and care when they are here and alive is of prime importance.

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car, he noticed a young girl sitting on the kerb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents and a rose costs two dollars.” The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.” He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving, he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.” She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave. The man was so moved emotionally seeing the sobbing young girl, that he returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house to give the bouquet to her himself. One chance meeting with the little girl made the man realise that giving love and showing gestures of love towards parents when they are ‘alive and here’ is a much better way than doing all that after they are gone...forever.

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