Over the last five years, my parents' health has been slowly deteriorating. Both my parents are diabetic. My mother suffers from hypothyroid, and my father has had multiple heart bypass surgeries. I can't say I know too much about these sicknesses, and quite frankly, it scares me to know the details extensively.
As a young and continually growing adult, I'd like to venture out and see the world. I have plans on moving and traveling. To many of us fortunate ones, traveling or moving to another city is a luxury. As for me, I always had hopes of moving back to Toronto.
With this being said, as an only child and a daughter of a loving family, I can't help but want to be by my parents' side. Although they aren't the age of senior citizens yet, they soon will be, and the thought of not having them at my side is terrifying.
Seeing my grandparents pass before my eyes, and seeing how it left both of my parents heartbroken, only made me want to be a stronger person for them. Of course, I was just as heartbroken by the death of my grandparents, but what resonated with me even more was the fear of losing my parents.
My parents and I have a tight-knit relationship. We don't celebrate birthdays or holidays because for our family, every day should be filled with love and warmth. Hell, our family song is Barney's "I Love You" song.
I recently made the decision to move back to Toronto. I sat my parents down to have a discussion and tell them my decision. I remember ripping tissues out of the Kleenex box one right after the other. I explained to my parents that I didn't want to be a disappointment to them. I told them I felt guilty for wanting to move. I told them I felt very selfish, and that I appreciate all they've done for me.
I went on telling them that I never wanted to be a burden to them, and how I longed for them to be proud of me. I told them how sorry I was for all the dumb and selfish mistakes I've made growing up. And most importantly, I told them I loved them both dearly, despite not showing it at times and not knowing how to express it.
This was, without a doubt, the deepest conversation I've ever had with my parents. What broke my heart was that my parents were so supportive of me. They understood I wanted to pursue my own happiness, dreams and ambitions. I expressed my fear of moving, how I'd blame myself and regret for the rest of life if something were to happen and I wasn't there holding their hands.
That was my biggest fear. No child likes to talk about their parents' deaths, let alone with their own parents. As this conversation played out with my parents, I kept choking on my words and found it hard to catch my breath.
My parents made jokes and simply suggested which form of burial and memorial service they'd like. I didn't find that amusing at all. It only made me weary of being thousands of miles away from them.
I know I'm not perfect. I'm aware of all the mistakes I've made in life. I knew there were times I took my parents for granted. Realizing my mistakes, however, wasn't enough for me. I wanted to provide for my parents and give them everything they dreamed of.
I can't imagine life without my parents, but it was comforting to know that they supported my decision, whether it be moving back to Toronto or any other decision in life. They told me they couldn't ask for a better daughter.
Even though at times I feel as if I've let my parents down, they've always reassured me I haven't. They told me they were happy to hear my raw emotions and feelings.
They told me that when life ends, it is all in God's hands. As humans, we can only do our best. We must live each and every day like its our last and treat every day as a family day. We must be appreciative of the simple things in life, and live with no regrets.
Do not take your loved ones for granted. As frigid and scared as I was of sharing how I felt with my parents, I was ecstatic and relieved to finally get everything off my chest. I still fear death, but my parents taught me to love and treasure those around you. So, when that day comes, you'll look back and have no regrets.
Death is a part of our life cycle. There's no escaping it. Rather than dreading and constantly fearing losing our loved ones, it is important to not let these anxieties manifest and make us worry excessively.
It is natural to want to protect our loved ones from harm, and it makes us feel powerless when we can't. The worst feeling is worrying whether your love is too late. When you suffer from such a fear, it seems that loss is always right around the corner, ready to take away someone who is precious to you.
We have to realize that as much as we would like to be able to control everything, we can't. We are vulnerable human beings. We have to have the wisdom of knowing what we can and cannot control. We must realize that death is an inevitable part of life.
If you focus too much upon potential loss, you'll end up missing the wonderful opportunities to connect with others. Live authentically with courage, and express love while you still can. Create valuable memories with those people you care for most.
At one point or another, we'll all be faced with loss, but we shouldn't surrender to the fear of its arrival. Focus on the good things in life. Savor all life has to offer.