Monthly Archives: June 2014

Incapable of love

incapable of love

In a previous post I mentioned a very disturbing thing dad did right after grams died. The other day mom expressed her concerns about dad playing some songs that were played at grams’ funeral and since dad was still there I asked her to tell him about it, so we could resolve the issue for once and for all.

He has been playing those songs frequently and somehow I had hoped he would be considerate enough to steer clear of them until she had recovered from the grief of losing her mom a few months ago.

In my opinion, what he fails to realize is that she was very close to her mom and her death affected her a lot. He lacks empathy. From what I’ve gathered, he and his mom were never really close. She was a strict disciplinarian and at some point, due to the conflict of interests he ran away from home. That said, I feel he doesn’t quite understand that special bond between a mother and child.

He never had the pleasure of calling his own mother “Mom.” She forbade her own children from calling her ‘mother’. She never really wanted to accept she was growing old and it’s like she imagined being called mom would emphasize the fact that she was losing her youth.

Making up for lost love

However, we understood that fact a long time ago, and for that we’ve always showed dad so much love, hoping it would in a way make up for his love-deprived childhood, though he hardly reciprocates. I feel he deliberately pushes us away.

Shouldn’t the thought that we try to make him feel loved help him overcome the bitterness from his childhood? I am no shrink, but I imagine my presumptions are not too inaccurate.

What ensued though, was a fight. Dad argued that there’s nothing he does that sits well with mom. “People die, you will die too. Let everyone carry their own cross,” he bit out angrily. I hadn’t seen that coming. Somehow I had imagined he would be like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way.”

On the contrary, he seemed totally unapologetic. “Let everyone listen to the songs they like,” he seethed.

His response shocked me. I had hoped he would atleast empathize with mom. But then, the more I think of it, the more I realize why he seems incapable of love. The one person, who was supposed to show him how to love, didn’t.

Substandard parenting

I may never have this conversation with his mother-for respect’s sake-but I feel she’s entirely to blame for her children’s misfortunes. As damaged as dad might seem, he appears to be the best of the siblings. That definitely tells a lot about her. She failed her children, now we’re left with the empty shells she raised; mean people who don’t seem to know what love is.

How do we teach dad how to love? How to be empathetic? It’s true what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks; how can we possibly fill his heart with love, when he grew up, not knowing how it feels to be loved? How can he love, if he doesn’t know what love is?

In a twisted kind of love, I talked about how he has a weird way of showing us he loves us. He tells us he loves us, but his actions tell a tale of their own. I don’t remember any single thing dad did for me that made me feel he loves me. I get the impression that every little thing he’s ever done for my sisters and me, he did out of obligation.

When I was small, I managed to overlook his shortcomings. I knew I would have wished for a better dad, but somehow I still loved him, and hoped he would love me back. Now I’m all grown up, and there’s nothing he does that even gives the illusion he is capable of love. In any case, nowadays it even feels worse because he has become an alcoholic so any free time he spends away from the office, he spends it alone, drinking; and most of the time he is plainly hostile.

Neighbours who have come to know the type of man dad is keep telling mom whenever they meet outside, “Be strong.”

After that brief argument, he said goodnight and flounced out of the room. Clearly, it hadn’t gone the way I had expected it to. I know mom has her own shortcomings and all, but that’s not the response I had hoped for. She had approached him meekly, in a conciliatory tone; one that didn’t brook argument, yet he reacted like mom had thrown hot coal at him, throwing hands up in the air and all.

I know dad had a difficult childhood and that’s why he has turned out into the hostile man he is today. However, I believe even though we might not have the power to change the lives we led as kids, life gives us numerous opportunities to forge out our own paths.

It’s not easy trying to ditch one’s past, that much I know; but at the same time I believe that with a little determination one can make so much progress.

 

The problem with love

cheating men

Loving the wrong person can make someone hate love, and even feel like they are worthless. There’s this show I was watching: a beautiful woman falls in love with a rich guy who’s practically a brat in every sense of the word. He has a personal servant, who tags along wherever he goes, to perform petty tasks like lighting fire at night when he takes his girlfriend camping; saddling his horse, because his family owns the biggest ranch in that town; carry picnic baskets.

The rich guy can barely handle a horse, yet he arrogantly challenges his servant, who is a rodeo champion, to a race; just to show off. Backstage, he has another one of his men threaten the servant so he can deliberately lose the race. According to them, a servant shouldn’t outshine their master.

Because of his inflated ego, he beats his naïve girlfriend whenever the opportunity presents itself, reminding her he’s the one who feeds her family as her parents work in his ranch, which is actually owned by his grandmother.

His idea of impressing girls is going on and on for hours about how much his family owns; and that the girl who marries him will be lucky because she will be the queen of that ranch when it’s finally bequeathed to him, even though he is second in line, after his equally arrogant dad.

When he is not too busy bragging about his family’s wealth, he is a reckless drunk, who sleeps with just about anyone in a skirt. All this happens while he still feigns faithfulness to his girlfriend, who is completely oblivious to his sexual shenanigans.

Unluckily, he sleeps with one of the housemaids, who is only too eager to share her erotic experience with the boss, with the rest of the maids. While the maid is giving details of what the boss did to her, the girlfriend walks in and gets to hear everything because the maid doesn’t see her approaching from behind.

Obviously the girlfriend gets all worked up and confronts the boyfriend. In the heat of the moment she slaps him hard across his face, accusing him of cheating on her. The unapologetic boyfriend asks her to get out of his sight, and as she leaves, all the fury turns into pain and she starts sobbing. All this while, as the confrontation is going down, the servant is watching because he was talking with the boss when the girlfriend walked in.

The servant is a caring guy, and hates the way his boss treats women; and his girlfriend in particular. The boss leaves for the city, leaving a distraught girlfriend behind. Enraged, she threatens to commit suicide, citing low self-worth. Her jerk of a boyfriend was apparently the best thing that ever happened to her and now that she doesn’t have him, she doesn’t desire to continue living.

I watch painfully as she cries uncontrollably, asking what’s wrong with her; why men seem to trivialize her that way. The caring servant consoles her, asking her not to give up on life just because she ran into a hurdle. He tells her not to take her own life because life has so much to offer still.

By the time the show ends, the girl is still attempting to commit suicide. The servant forcefully carries her on his shoulder, taking her to his house so he can keep a close look on her. She only calms down when she comes down with a fever after staying out in the cold for too long.

The girl is obviously crushed, that her boyfriend cheated on her. I would feel the same way too if I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. What I couldn’t agree with was the idea of her threatening to take her own life because now her life has lost meaning.

For starters, the servant she was with is a really nice guy. He is not wealthy, but his girlfriend would be a very lucky woman. The reason he, on the other hand, is single is because he feels he is so poor, he wouldn’t have anything to offer a woman.

As I watch the two, I can’t help wondering; if they were to become an item, they would make an amazing couple. The girl likes the guy, only as a friend, so I have a feeling she wouldn’t mind dating him, and the guy would in turn treat her like a queen with the little he has. Both would have the best of love.

The woman feels inadequate because she dates the wrong men, who make her feel worthless. If she dated the right guy, like the servant, who unlike the rich, bratty boss, is humble and caring, she wouldn’t feel so worthless because he would treat her right.

Sometimes we love the wrong people and end up hurting. As a result we hate love and feel worthless. If one is in a relationship where they feel unhappy, they should ‘step out’ of the relationship, and weigh things from a third person’s perspective. By doing that, one might end up realizing they are not the ones with the problem but their partners.

Like the girl; she would notice the problem is she loves and trusts a guy who doesn’t deserve her. He beats her, cheats on her, and she still manages to feel like she is the one at fault; and while she is going through all that heartbreak, he is in the city saying “I love you baibe,” to a woman he just met. She should say good riddance and find a guy who will love her right, and treat her like the queen she is.

 

Of football and prayers

world cup- USA vs Portugal

It is the season of football. I’m not really a football fanatic, but lately I seem to be lagging behind in my tasks, reason being; the World Cup. I’m still having a hard time believing that I am actually loving the World Cup. A few weeks ago I would have laughed had anyone told me I would be sacrificing things like movies and soaps to watch football. I think I should take a hard look in the mirror and confirm I’m still the same self-proclaimed soap-a-holic.

Before the world cup kicked off, it had been a while since I sat down to watch a match. The last time I watched the Brazil’s national team in action, Ronaldinho was wearing jersey no. 10 and his team mates Kaka and Ronaldo were still the players to look out for. The other day I saw Neymar Jr., the young Brazilian sensation, in Ronaldinho’s old jersey no. Things did change when I was ‘away’.

After watching the match between Portugal and USA, where the match ended in a 2-2 draw, I couldn’t believe Portugal’s luck. They had scored their second goal in the last thirty seconds of extra time. It was a crucial goal for them because if they lost to USA they would have been the next team packing up to catch the next flight out of Brazil, together with Cameroon, England and Spain-the defending champions.

I couldn’t help but notice Cristiano Ronaldo’s unease as the final minutes ticked away, and the score line was still 2-1, after USA scored their second goal about nine minutes to full time. As I watched the seconds quickly passing, with ninety seconds left before the final whistle was blown, I just told mom, “At this point it is only a miracle that can save Cristiano and his team.”

Seconds later, the commentator was shouting, in the invigorated ‘it’s a gooooaaaaaal’ tone. Portugal had just scored their second goal, equalizing the score. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was just unbelievable! In seconds, an incredible cross from Cristiano, the captain of the team, gave them a lifeline, denying the US team a straight victory, which would have seen them go through to the knock out stage; in the last 16.

The two teams as it is, are in a tough group with the other two teams being Germany and Ghana. After the match ended, as I was listening to football analysts, one of them was saying the single point Portugal had gained after the draw wouldn’t help the team. Their next match will be with Ghana, another strong team and that would mean the Portuguese might still end up getting eliminated in the group stage.

“In their next game,” the analyst said, “only their skills will save them. What they do on the field is what will determine if they continue to the next level or not. Not even prayers will save them.”

I couldn’t believe it. Not even prayers will save them? I wondered. In my opinion the last goal had been a miracle. Thankfully, another analyst gave him his two cents worth on the matter. “If my grandma heard you say that, she would totally beg to differ. Prayers would totally help.”

The first analyst reminded me of a teacher in high school. He was a Christian, but if he saw someone praying when he was giving out test papers, he would light-heartedly say, “If you haven’t been revising, don’t bother praying.” And I always found fault in that statement.

I always tried to get the logic behind that statement. Faith without action is dead. One can’t fail to read and still expect to pass. Just like Cristiano and his Portuguese compatriots; if they don’t play exceptionally there is no way they are going to win. Still, who is to say the Portuguese hadn’t been practising enough?

prayer can make the impossible possible

They may have lost their first match to Germany, after being thrashed 4-0, still, who is to say prayers won’t help them in their next match against Ghana’s black stars.

There is power in prayer. Prayer changes things. Sometimes I get the feeling God answers the prayers of non-believers faster than He does with believers, in the hope of convincing them that He listens when they call Him.

God listens; whether one believes in Him or not, the minute one chooses to call on Him, He listens. He may take longer to answer, but He does eventually. It is true, that one must back their prayers with actions; still there shouldn’t come a time when one feels prayers won’t help. Prayers always help. It’s not our place to judge if God will listen or not. His thoughts are not ours.

If you’re in need of something, pray for it. Let God decide if He will grant you that desire or not. Don’t limit Him.

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

corpus christi

Sunday, 22nd June, was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ), also called Corpus Domini. Naturally the feast is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but in places where the day is not a holy day of obligation, it is celebrated the Sunday after Trinity Sunday.

It is a feast celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and His real presence in the Eucharist. Bread and wine are consecrated, turning them into His body and blood. Visually, the bread still takes the form of bread and the wine still looks like red wine and tastes like wine. It is only by faith that faithful believe it is the actual body and blood.

Celebrating bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ is a rite that dates back in time, to Holy Thursday, during the Last Supper, where Jesus broke bread, blessed wine and shared it with His disciples, then asked them to continue with the rite in His memory. So essentially, when Christians eat His body and drink His blood, they follow His Command.

When we look back at the events that took place on Holy Thursday, the Last Supper, which was the principal event, sought of gets overshadowed by the others. For this reason, the feast of Corpus Christi was created to focus solely on the Holy Eucharist.

In 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17, Paul says, “The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper, and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread we break: when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ. Because there is one loaf of bread, all of us, though many, are one body, for we all share the same loaf.”

Why was bread used to symbolize the body of Christ? Someone might ask. Couldn’t God have picked something fancier? Bread, as seen in the bible was used in many instances. Jesus used bread as a symbol of His body because it was affordable to many.

After Jesus fed the five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6: 1-13), they thought He was the prophet who was to come into the world. Afraid they would seize Him in order to make Him king by force, Jesus went off again to the hills by Himself.

When the people found Him the next day, He told them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry. He who believes in me will never be thirsty”. (John 6: 35). He goes on to say, “Your ancestors ate manna in the desert but they died. But the bread that comes from heaven is of such a kind that whoever eats it will not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. The bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.” (John 6: 49-51).

Someone might think that if the consecrated bread-Eucharist-is the body of Christ, then if someone was to have plenty of it, they would have more Jesus in them. That is not the case however. Each piece of the Eucharist weighs the same. It doesn’t matter how many pieces it’s broken into. The one who eats the full sacrament, hundreds of them, or just a tiny particle all consume the same amount.

Additionally, sharing the body of Christ doesn’t diminish Him. On the contrary, it unites all those who eat it, into one body. As he says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I Live in Him.” (John 6: 56). Through sharing His body and blood we become one body in Christ.

consecration of bread and wine

God is able; through Him all things are possible. That is what the faithful believe. So if that’s the case, shouldn’t that make all who partake of His body and blood superhuman, able to do anything they want?

It is true; eating Christ’s body and drinking His blood empowers people. At the same time, one can’t just lie around and wait to perform tasks superhumanly. Eating the Eucharist follows the ‘faith without action is dead’ concept. One needs to work hard, doing what’s right; living by God’s commandments for the Eucharist to manifest itself fully. It’s all about faith.

Once a priest said in church that people who are mentally unstable-insane-are not given the sacrament because it would just be desecrated. I’m thinking the reasoning behind that is that they are not in the state of mind to believe the effect of the Eucharist in them, so it would be meaningless to let them have it.

It is God’s hope that we all live virtuously. He despises actions which undermine love; revenge for instance, and only encourages acts of kindness, forgiveness… if all those who partake of the Eucharist believe it is Christ’s body, then they should refrain from things that taint its sanctity; actions encouraged by the devil.

Christ taught us to forgive. It is human nature to err; and because of that, forgiveness becomes a vital necessity in life. If you are wounded, don’t take matters into your own hands, because that only kills love and encourages inhumane acts like terrorism, which have become so rampant nowadays, in the quest for vengeance. Instead, take your pain to the wounded healer and let Him take it away. Let Him avenge you.

How to deal with non-believers

united-seeing past differences

I’ve never understood why, but some Christians treat all non-believers like they’re sinners and will therefore go to hell. Well here are a few words of enlightenment: be wise in the way you act towards those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone (Colossians 4: 5-6).

Sometimes I come across Christians who say they are saved, but the things they do/say leave me with so many doubts about their salvation. In many of my posts, I’ve talked about the issue of judging others; acting all self-righteous and all. What makes me question someone’s idea of salvation is not because I feel I’m a better Christian, but because I wonder, if I wasn’t really a believer already, how many of the Christians I’ve met would convince me to give my life to Christ?

From what I have gathered over time, everyone has a justified reason as to why they do/don’t profess a certain faith. If someone is a non-believer, does that mean they will automatically be damned to hell on judgement day? Not really. In any case Jesus believed that some pagans are better than those who call themselves believers.

Some of us feel like they are warranted to condemn others because they are believers and in their eyes, those who don’t believe in God are sinners. According to many Bible verses, God hates self-righteousness. In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus told a parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else:

“Once there were two men who went up to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like the tax collector over there. I fast two days a week and give you a tenth of all my income.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his head to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’

I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.”

So when a believer shouts, “You will go to hell!” to a non-believer, what does one suppose God thinks of that believer? It is not our place to condemn. Only an ignorant person would assume that all those who don’t believe in God will be damned.

In his letter to the Colossians 2: 16-19, Paul says, “So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon festival or the Sabbath. All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels.

For no reason at all, such a person is all puffed up by his human way of thinking and has stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body.”

Identifying ourselves as Christians, makes us believe we know exactly what’s wrong; who is right or not, but the truth is, only God knows who is guilty/innocent. If a believer assumes that a neighbour who doesn’t go to church has already booked a ticket to hell, then one ought to know that those we condemn might actually be the ones who are actually right in the eyes of God.

In Proverbs 16: 2, King Solomon says, “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” So it really doesn’t matter if one spends all their time in church praying, fasting and tithing religiously every month.

Jesus condemns hypocrisy. In Matthew 23: 23-27, He says, “How terrible of you teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give to God one tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the law, such as justice and mercy and honesty.

These you should practice without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel! How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness. Blind Pharisees!

Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too! How terrible for you, teachers of law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.”

In very simple words, Jesus is the holiest man, who has ever walked this earth, yet He didn’t go around castigating those who didn’t believe in Him/His Father. He loved everyone, without discriminating and used the best examples to inspire love for His Father and not fear in people’s hearts. So if He didn’t despise, why should we?

If Jesus popped in on a conversation between you-a Christian-and a non-believer, would He be proud of you, or would He unleash the ‘hypocrite!’ admonishment on you? If you were a non-believer, would a Christian doing the things you do, both in public and in private, convince you to join the faith?

 

We are all sinners

do not judge2

Have you ever felt judged? Feeling as if you have been pushed to a corner, all fingers pointed at you. I can barely count the numbers of times I have felt judged. At the same time, I also know there are times I judge, so I put others in the same hurtful place; that same place I don’t like finding myself in.

Why is it so easy for someone to judge others, when they themselves don’t like being judged?

Human beings are so judgemental; that’s something I always feel when I look at the society we live in. It feels like we are so quick to pinpoint others’ wrongs. According to the Bible, this is what Jesus said about that issue. “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.

Why then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please let me take that speck out of your eye’, when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite!

First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 1-5).

The mere fact that we are all human means we are all sinners. And when it comes to the business of wrong doing, no one is better than the other. It would be hypocritical for someone to feel they are lesser sinners, because that brings self-righteousness; a trait which is so destructive. It smothers love and care, so that people are only left nit-picking.

How will I love my neighbour, if I feel she is a prostitute; he’s gay; he is of a different heritage; he’s from a different religion; people from his community are terrorists…? There are so many tags we use to justify our hate towards others. What we need to realize is that the minute we start branding people, being critical of their behaviour, we diminish the chances for love to grow; and last I checked, where love is scarce, dreadful things happen.

Christianity as a religion is based on the birth and death of Jesus Christ; but the latter mainly. He suffered on the cross for us, and died so that mankind would be saved, from sin. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much He loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. By His sacrificial death, we are now put right with God. (Romans 5: 6-9).

If we all were not sinners, why would God feel the need to sacrifice His only begotten son? When we read the Bible, we get an idea of what was actually done to Jesus during His passion, but when it’s broken down into precise details, it’s stupefying. The death of Christ was clearly beyond any human mind’s comprehension.

He was subjected to the ill-treatment of people who didn’t believe in Him; people who took His words for granted, mocking Him like He was just another mad man; people who treated Him like He was a sinner, yet He was the holiest of us all, and accused Him of blasphemy.

The way I see it, if Jesus accepted to die on the cross, because He knew what was coming to Him, it’s because He knew we needed to be saved. Why? Because we are all sinners! We may not all be thieves, rapists, murderers…etc. but we are sinners regardless.

Some of the wrongs we commit might not even be serious enough to be punishable by law, but whatever the wrong, we are sinners. And this is something we need to remember always before we go out acting like we are our brothers’ judges. If we think our brothers have specks in their eyes, then that’s nothing compared to the logs in our own eyes.

As a child I always heard that ‘if you draw the sword, you will die by the sword’. A deeper translation of that would be, we will suffer the same fate we condemn others to. With this in mind, we need to reflect on our actions as individuals, and imagine how it would be if we were judged the same way we judge others.

do not judge

Sometimes it’s not even about the things we do that are legally wrong, but about those small things we do that cause others so much misery. For instance, a young girl from a poor family marries into a rich family and when she is all rich she forgets her poor background, and when her own daughter is old enough to marry, she forbids her from marrying a poor guy.

That leaves me wondering, what would have happened had the rich guy, who married the poor girl, looked down on her because she was poor? Would that woman have become rich in the first place? Would she have the clout that gives her the courage to ask her daughter not to marry a poor man?

Walk a mile in someone’s shoes; that is the best way to understand what someone else is going through. When we imagine ourselves in other people’s situations, we will atleast get an inkling of how it feels to go through what they are going through; and when we understand that, we won’t judge as much/at all for that matter.

Old and neglected

elderly neglected

This past Monday dad received a call from his uncle-his mom’s brother-who takes care of his grandmother (my great-grandmother), telling him she looked so frail and was afraid she might be transitioning to the other world sooner rather than later. Afraid his granma would die before he saw her, he took a day off so he could travel to the countryside to visit her. Coincidentally, mom was also taking her weekly off on Tuesday. She offered to accompany him.

Tuesday morning, the two woke up early, and went to see dad’s granma. While they were away, mom called, saying they had seen her and she looked frail but was okay. That was a huge relief because the thought that dad had taken a day off in the beginning of the week sought of gave the impression his grandmother was on her dying bed.

Last time I saw her was in October last year and even though she looked thinner than I’d previously seen her, she looked so beautiful. The entire time I was looking at her I felt like I was looking at an older version of my big sister, and then I would see my grams-dad’s mom- and my dad’s siblings. I saw family members from three generations in her. The resemblance was striking.

She is the matriarch of the family; the tree, from which four generations have sprouted. That is indeed a phenomenal blessing. I’m not too sure how old she is, but I imagine she is in her late nineties or early hundreds; about a century old. Looking at the fruits of her womb, directly/indirectly, I would say she is blessed.

From her, great people have been born; for instance, three of her children, who I know, are well-to-do and furthermore, dad and his siblings all have very lucrative careers. Anyone in her shoes would be proud of her descendants.

However, there’s one big problem with that. When mom and dad arrived at around nine, at night, they showed my sisters and I some of the pictures they took of our great-granma. She didn’t just look frail, she looked malnourished, visibly pallid and in one of the photos she seemed almost lifeless. It was too creepy I just requested them to delete it.

Mom said they took it so we could get the actual image of how she looks. Those images of her infuriated me. She seemed that neglected, yet all people do in my extended family is boast about all the wealth they have. Of what use is that wealth, if it can’t help such a woman, who is now too old to fend for herself? What’s the point of having children if they won’t take care of one when age renders them helpless and dependant?

The uncle who called dad is the same one who keeps asking for money, citing the old woman’s special needs; special diet and all. The woman I saw on those photos didn’t look like one who receives any special treatment from the people, who I feel have been scamming family members off. She just seemed neglected. My heart went out to her. Her caretakers look so healthy, well-fed, yet she on the other hand looks so underfed.

Old people can be difficult. My late grams wasn’t any different. She insisted on remaining in her home when mom suggested she come live with us so we could take care of her. Mom even tricked her into coming home but a month later she said she wasn’t used to the city life, so she begged to be taken back and as mom didn’t want to impose, she took her back. Next thing we knew, she was all scrawny; malnourished and all and before long she was dead.

Old people aren’t the easiest to deal with, but at the same time, I believe it’s the responsibility of the younger members of the family to take care of them. The best way to look at this situation would be to imagine oneself, old and confined to a wheelchair courtesy of old age, and alone because the people one birthed and raised are too absorbed in their own lives to help/care.

I don’t like nursing homes. Why take an old relative to a home? They spent their halcyon days, taking care of those same children who leave them in the care of total strangers? Isn’t it everyone’s dream to spend their sunset years with loved ones? Life is a cycle; our parents take care of us when we are young, and when age catches up with them, we take care of them.

Why neglect them when they can’t take care of themselves? They used up their better years feeding and clothing us? Would it be too much to ask that we, who are still young and able, return the favour to our loved ones? It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude for their priceless work.