“My Lord, have mercy on them as they brought me up when I was small.”
Al-Quran, Surah Al-Isra, 17:24
Two days ago, dad sent me a photo of him at the hospital. He was dressed in hospital garment and waiting for his turn to be examined. Upon having a closer look at the photo, a thought ran through my mind: Since when did dad start to get old?
In between the time when I was a little girl and saw my dad as a huge and strong figure until now, age seemed to have rapidly caught up with him. It’s not just dad which is showing the signs of aging but my mom as well.
My parents have always been filled with such vitality and energy towards Life so I have never seen them to be anything but young. However, there have been signs in the past few years that have hinted to me that my parents are not the young people I’ve always perceived them to be.
One of those signs was when my mom collapsed twice on separate occasions right before my eyes about two to three years back. Only God knows just how lost I felt when I saw her on the floor in front of me and I did not know how to call her back to consciousness. I am still traumatised by that experience and would instantly panic whenever I’m out with my mom and she suddenly stops in mid-path and yet it was that same encounter which gave me a big wake up call that my parents are not young anymore.
It was since then that I began to see my parents with new eyes. It’s in the way that they tire more easily than usual, in the existence of the little lines I observed etched on their faces, in the greying of their hair, how they sought our opinions in matters, in their talks and the plans they made for a time when they reached retirement age, in the way they talked about death and related it back to themselves whenever someone in their family or social circle passes on, and also in the way they expressed their hopes for all of us to find our respective life partners and for them to be part of the growing up years of their grandchildren before they are gone.
Time really isn’t on our side isn’t it?
It is this awareness that makes me realize the brevity of the human existence and to appreciate the little blessings that He has given us. Sometimes, we are always on the look out for things we consider to be ‘huge blessings’ like a job, a promotion, owning a big house, having a spouse, a child and many more. However I believe that God has filled every single day of our lives with blessings. It is just that most times, we are blind and unable to witness them.
For now, one of the blessings that I consider I have is that my parents are still around and that alhamdulillah, they are healthy and in a state of iman.
One day, there might be a time when I wake up to the realization that I would not be receiving texts or calls from them asking me how I am; or with the knowledge that by default, I will no longer have two people in this world who will be the most interested and concerned about me, love me unconditionally and have my back no matter what. Because there is that possibility, I pray so much right now that God will allow me to serve and love my parents the way He had decreed them to be during this little time we have left.