Surviving Against All Odds
Surviving Against All Odds5 mins 175 5 mins 175
A crisis tends to bring people closer and makes us realize things that otherwise, we were unaware of. The first real crisis of my life happened about six years ago, when my father was diagnosed with dementia. My life changed overnight as so far I had lived like a princess, with absolutely no worries, loved and pampered beyond words. It was like living in a castle made of glass, which in one stroke was broken into a thousand pieces. I grew up overnight, as my heart broke to see my father struggling to do routine tasks. Slowly we learnt that the best way to deal with him was through patience and affection. The realization hit us hard when the doctor told us that the illness is incurable. We observed that he had become like a child who needed an attendant to assist him in his day to day activities.
I was very close to my mother, she was like my best friend. But I discovered the immense love I felt for my father in the past six years, as the severity of his illness shattered my soul. The memories of the past kept haunting me, as he was a completely different person now. But at the same time, I felt grateful for all that he had done, to give us a comfortable life and a good upbringing, I could never repay him for that.
I cherished the memories of the good old days and admired his resolve to fight back. It gave me the courage to support him in every possible way in this new journey. On every Sunday, we would go with him for a drive, visit a temple and have dinner at a restaurant. It was at this time that we started bonding as a family and were spending quality time together. These outings were special for him and gave him great joy, that was all that we could do for him at that time. I felt glad that we could give him happiness in some way. At that time, I became cognizant of my qualities of resilience and perseverance, that I had inherited from him. The unpredictability of his behavior threw many challenges at us, but we tackled them head on with great aplomb. He never left any stone unturned, in order to help us build a good and secure life. I never thought of giving up on him, as I adored and respected him for his kindness and integrity.
After about two years, I got engaged, after a long wait, and everyone was very happy. I would have to move to another city, and luckily my brother got a job offer which required him to relocate to the same city. I was on top of the world as my family would be moving alongwith me. We sold off our old house and bought a new apartment. We shifted into our new home and everyone was doubly excited. But one phone call changed all that, we had to call off the wedding one week before the marriage , as the groom’s family started demanding dowry. My family was heartbroken and found it difficult to face the truth. As time passed by, we moved on and settled down into our new home. I won’t say that this incident didn’t affect me, but then I was convinced that we had taken the right decision, as its better to be single than being in an unhappy marriage. I felt that God had saved me from making the biggest mistake of my life.
In December, 2019, my father started showing symptoms of aggression, which was completely unlike him, and we were unable to understand how to handle him. He could have caused harm to himself or to anyone else. So we were forced to admit him in a Centre for Dementia Care. It was a tough time for us, since, we were asked not to visit him, as it could hinder the treatment. After about two weeks, we were allowed to meet him, and he kept asking us that when would he be able to go back home. After that, whenever we visited him, he insisted on going back home, he was like a child who had been abandoned by his family. When he was at home, he enjoyed going to the park twice a day, and the usual Sunday evening drives. Now, he was completely bound by the four walls of the centre. We felt helpless and frustrated, even when we were at home, we kept thinking about him and felt guilty for leaving him alone at the centre.
But I guess, God was preparing him for the future. We brought him back home in February. In March, the lockdown due to coronavirus was announced, the part time attendant, who used to come for my father, also stopped coming to work. It was a struggle for my mother to take care of my father single-handedly, due to her age and health issues, I was very fretful. Luckily, we got a full time attendant for him, after about one week. I was anxious that my father would get restless if not allowed to go out, which usually happened, but we explained the reason to him and thankfully he understood. This may also be, because he was confined to the centre for a long period of time. It proved to be a blessing in disguise, as now he is not adamant about his daily outings. So, now things have fallen into place, and he is enjoying being indoors, as this time his family is there with him. Towards the end, all I would like to say is, if a patient like him can do it, it shouldn’t be so difficult for normal people like us to stay at home, as there is nothing more important than our health. So everyone out there, lets all be responsible citizens and make an effort to eradicate this virus from our planet as soon as possible.