I believe that when we are hit with an ‘aha’ moment we should give it due respect and pay attention.
The other day my mother phoned. Could I make a doctor’s appointment for her. My father had tried a couple of times but got a recording that says that you have to do it online. I found it peculiar since not everyone, especially seniors have computers or have the know hows. I phoned and the recording does say you have the option of making appointments online but if you press 0 or just hang on, you can speak to the receptionist.
I felt a bubble of irritation starting up at my father. How could he not understand that since he got the online part? In the same moment, I saw the flashing STOP sign in my head, telling me that this is how my father has been for many, many years. Though he came to Canada as a young man in his early 20’s, he does not know the English language well at all. He had made no provision for my mother to learn.
Sometimes I think he knows more than he lets on. But he rather have somebody else do all these things so he doesn’t. I have been the interpreter, making and taking them to appointments since I was about 9 years old. It has made me feel responsible for their health, happiness and total being. No one can be responsible for somebody else’s all. I have felt guilt and anger.
What are the chances that he would change now at 83? None. So why waste my energy getting angry and then feel like a very bad person/daughter? I squashed that ugly bubble and made the appointment. I told my mother how they can get through to the receptionist the next time. I’m feeling grateful that he is still able to drive and be independent otherwise. I am grateful that there are Chinese physicians here so that they can see their doctor on their own most of the time. I am grateful that I can help my parents to be as independent as they are able to.
I am fortunate that I finally recognize that there are the things I can’t change. I can now stop fretting, stressing, fuming, insisting that yes, things can change. Some things cannot. I can stop getting, being and staying in anger. Having seen the light/stop sign, I can ease up, let go a bit and move on. There will be, of course, days when I will fall back on old ways. I will get righteous and indignant, insisting that other person change and behave the way I want. I hope those occasions will come less and less. Let there be patience and love.