Posted in Renuka, Thoughts&Revelations

How old are my parents again?

Another Sunday, another frantic phone call from home about another parent being taken to the hospital.

I have another 6-ish months to go before I officially turn 30, but what I’d forgotten is that my parents will soon also face a far more terrifying milestone – 60 years on earth.

As overbearing as Indian parents can be, and as much as I have often wanted my parents out of my life in the past, their mortality is something I haven’t put much thought into.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched both my parents go through multiple surgeries since I was 17. My mom had a stroke and was in a coma that we didn’t know if she would come out of She hasn’t been the same since.

I’ve visited multiple hospitals in Singapore more times than I should have been before turning 30. I could tell you where you can go for a quiet space in SGH, what food is best in Tan Tock Seng, and how NUH is a lot more accessible now than it was years ago.

I’ve roamed the various corridors of these hospitals for days on end over the years, become so familiar with hospital procedures and protocols (before I started working in one myself), that I can honestly tell you, I’m tired of it.

So tired. Tired of receiving phone calls about falls, heart attacks, panic attacks. Tired of going to the hospital and home and work and back to the hospital. Tired of feeling terrified that this phone call will be the last one.

I’m worried out of my mind all the time and I’m sure I’m not the only one. And if saying that I’m tired makes me a bad person, then I’m not afraid of being a bad person.

At the end of the day, I will say I’m tired, I will get angry and upset. I will worry about my own mortality, and fret over my health. I will text my best friends, and get some relief from their supportive words.

And I will pull through for my family.

I will be there at whichever hospital I’m needed. I will ask all the questions to all the doctors and I will keep worrying about my parents.

We may not have the best relationship. My family will never make it to daytime television, with ever-smiling and overwhelmingly supportive families. But it’s all I have, and damnit, I will dig deep and pull through for them again.

Image: Hush Naidoo on

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