“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.”
He has got the TV on too loud. He’s looking at it, but I know by his blank stare he’s not seeing it. He was smart, brilliant years ago, but not today, time and a tragic accident started his brain to deteriorate. “Breakfast dad” I call to him. Pouring milk over his cereal, I pull out the chair for him to sit. This is the beginning of his days now. As I push his chair close to the table, I know by his shaking I will have to spoon most of his breakfast to him. Taking care of my father, just like my mother took care of me as a child, like me and my daughter, years ago. I put on his bib to catch is drool wondering who is going to put on my bib.
Father, daughter, son to father. We take care of our children then we hope the child takes care of us. I need you. You need me. When we are young and in our prime we never think we need anybody. We think we’re self-sufficient. So we believe but without the farmers there would be no bread to buy at the store. So many people connect to our lives daily. We are constantly serving or being served. People make the world not things.
I wonder why people cheat their families, fighting for money, properties and acquisitions. They often hold grudges until sickness and old age descend into their lives before they come to understand the true value of family.
We live in a culture that promotes independence, so why is it we expect everything from our parents growing up, but when they get old we give them away to someone else to take care of? Family members are the people that can draw out the worst in you. Parent/child relations can get difficult, but in crisis bonds forged with family often prove to be the strongest. For example; an acquaintance of mine named Peter moved away from home early in his teens. He hated his father and never called or went home to visit him. When his mother died and his father was left alone, he still held his grudge and never spoke to him at his mother’s funeral.
Years later when he found out his father had prostate cancer and could die, he realized he needed to bury the hatchet and forgive him. Clearing his conscious he moved back home and took time to get to know his father again.
Now he wishes he had more time with his dad. Knowing his father’s linage can help him avoid the same health risks in his lifetime. We have a lot to learn from our elders. Their lives are full of experiences that can save us many heart aches.
An hour has passed since I sat my father down for breakfast. He is almost finished. He took longer today. I hold his hand steady for his last mouthful of milk and cereal. He’s is still teaching me. He hardly talks but actions always speak louder than words.
* Love is a physical act of caring
* Love is responsibility more than a feeling
* Blame doesn’t help the sick
* Politics, Religion, and opinions don’t matter when you can’t put on your shoe
* Thinking is over rated and really a human privilege
* Caring is its own reward
Excerpt from “Secrets To Life Book” by Chris Emmanuel
Book available at Chris Emmanuel Art Gallery (Sunbreeze Hotel) and Pages Book Store
– by Chris Emmanuel, Columnist