It hits everyone at some point. You reach the age where you start worrying more. What age did you realize that you had to start watching your parents more closely? Now I’ve always worried about my parents to some extent that they were working too hard, etc. But it wasn’t until my early 20s that I really thought about everything that could go wrong. I knew that to some extent there was nothing I could do, but then again, I knew there were things I could do to help them. I remember a time when I tried to learn to mow the lawn and that didn’t work out very well. But that situation resolved itself, my parents now do not have to take care of the lawn or pool and I’m very happy about this. For years I kept telling them that my boyfriend (now husband) could do it for them, but they are definitely the sort of people who don’t always ask for help when they need it.
Out of both my parents I worry more about my father. My mom I still worry about, but for different reasons. She exercises regularly, goes cycling, so the things that worry me would be her having an accident on the road or exercising her body too much. My dad has always worried me more for many reasons. When I was younger he managed a retail store and there was an armed robbery one night and if it wasn’t for a woman who wandered in and spooked the robbers, my father and his co-workers may not be here today. So that’s one reason I’ve always worried about him. I remember being a child and staying up in bed until I heard him come in. It was only then that I could go to sleep. Now a days I’m just worried about the strength of his body. I know that he’s a strong person, he’s not overweight but he’s not super fit, he’s normal, there’s just no guarantees really. Take one of my high school gym teachers for an example. He was the head football coach and taught weight training, but then one evening he collapsed from a heart attack and he was physically fit and in his 30s.
I know I’m starting to ramble, it’s just that you get to the point where you check up more on your parents. You want to know how they’re feeling and you don’t want them to lie because they don’t want to worry you. Every time that comes up in my family I always remind them that that is what family is for. You’re supposed to worry about the ones you love, it just part of the deal. Multiple family members try to pull this and I remind them that when you start a family you have a responsibility to them, to tell things, to involve them. Whether it worries or saddens them shouldn’t play a part, it should be expected and appreciated. When someone worries about you that simply means that they love you and they care. You can’t prevent someone who loves you from worrying, it will happen sooner or later. What you can do is soften the blow by talking to them.
We had a family member keep a secret from us. When we finally learned the truth, that they had been keeping a medical secret from us, that truly hurt more than the years of worrying about them would’ve been. I had a grandfather that had kept secret for 5 years that he was battling cancer. 5 years! He stated that he kept it secret for two reasons (1) he didn’t want to worry us too much and (2) it was his decision/right to disclose what he wanted, when he wanted. You can imagine the hurt, anger and worry experienced after those statements. But we couldn’t be too angry with him, because when he decided to reveal to everyone that he had been battling cancer, it was only because in a week he would be having his bladder/prostate removed in an intensive surgery. SO we had to get over the initial shock and deal with the impending surgery that would take all day. I remember it was a Wednesday. I remember insisting that I be there, in case anything happened. I wanted to be there in that moment with my family so we could take information in together. That’s one of the best benefits of having a family with you, is that they are there with you through the good and the bad. It is foolish to think that you can spare someone you love, that you can spare their pain. All you can do is soften the blow and include them.
Ever since that revelation with my grandfather, everyone in the family got an earful from me about it. I made sure everyone knew my feelings on it and that I never wanted to get that kind of surprise again. I made my parents swear that they wouldn’t pull those types of shenanigans on me, that I deserved to know everything that was going with them. Luckily they agreed. I’m sometimes surprised by feelings on the subject, on just how much I really want to be involved and how much information I want to know. I’m wondering if I’m the only one.