In the realm of caretaking, especially for those with dementia, it is not uncommon to hear stories of aggression and abuse from affected parents. However, just a few days ago, we had the privilege of witnessing a different narrative that we would like to share with our readers—
Once upon a time, in a small town nestled among rolling hills, lived a young boy named Firdous. From the earliest days of his childhood, Firdous faced a challenging health condition that caused frequent chest problems. His parents, filled with concern, would rush him to the hospital, where doctors predicted that he would continue to struggle until the age of twelve.
Firdous’s life was far from easy. The hospital became his second home, and the unfamiliar sights and sounds often overwhelmed him. But amidst the chaos, Firdous’s mother stood as his unwavering pillar of strength.
With patience and a heart filled with love, she would calm his fears, counsel him about the importance of taking his medicines, and ensure he received the care he needed.
There were moments when frustration overtook Firdous. Anger would flare within him, causing him to shout and break things around the house. Yet, his parents, driven by a deep well of love, never wavered in their support. They understood that his outbursts were born out of pain and confusion, and responded with endless compassion.
Countless nights and days were spent at the hospital, as Firdous’s parents tirelessly attended to his needs. His father, driven by an unyielding devotion, worked relentlessly to provide for the family and fund Firdous’s treatment. They traveled far and wide, seeking help from renowned doctors in Chandigarh and Delhi, determined to find a cure for their beloved child.
As Firdous entered his teenage years, a glimmer of hope emerged. Gradually, his health began to improve, allowing him to focus on his studies with renewed determination.
Supported by the unwavering love of his parents, he excelled academically, surpassing all expectations. The time had come for him to join his father’s business, a venture built upon years of hard work and sacrifice.
Life took a new turn for Firdous when he met the love of his life and started a family of his own. He became a loving husband and a proud father to two beautiful children. However, the journey was not without its hardships. Firdous’s mother, the pillar of strength who had stood by his side, passed away, leaving a void that seemed impossible to fill.
To make matters more challenging, Firdous’s father began to suffer from dementia. He became prone to anger and would sometimes direct his frustration towards Firdous. It was a painful and bewildering time for both father and son.
Firdous, once overwhelmed by his father’s outbursts, now found himself struggling to contain his own anger and resentment. The weight of responsibility bore heavily upon his shoulders, and he yearned for an escape from this difficult situation.
But amidst the turmoil, Firdous carried the lessons learned from his parents. He remembered the unwavering love they had shown him during his own turbulent times.
Deep in his heart, he knew that compassion and understanding were the keys to weathering this storm. With time, Firdous found strength and patience within himself.
He dedicated himself to caring for his father, reminding himself that this was his chance to repay the unconditional love that had been bestowed upon him. And so, Firdous embraced his role as a caretaker with open arms, cherishing every moment spent with his father.
Within this single story lies a universal truth that resonates deeply with each of us. As children, we have all encountered our fair share of health challenges, and in those moments, it was our parents who stood by our side, offering their unwavering care and affection.
However, when illness befalls our parents, causing them to become abusive or irritable, it is essential to remember that it is not their true selves, but rather their illness that is dictating their actions.
Dr Zubair Saleem is a Senior Geriatric Consultant and Gerontologist and Dr Showkat Rashid Wani is a Senior Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK