It is a concern for most expats, with increasing number of people finding employment overseas, it’s a continuous endeavor to strike a balance between aging parents back home, and the promise of a new land. A struggle between the three generations feels Suveera. She talks about the balance between various relationships, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
The phone rings while I am doing the never-ending shopping at the grocery store. It was my mother. “Make sure you pick up the spices for the medicine,” she reminded. I had nearly forgotten and was about to leave without them. What perfect timing. I wonder how she senses it across hundreds of miles. A mother’s sixth sense is something that defies science still.
My children have been dealing with a very persistent cough this season, and her constant tips and herbal remedies have helped substantially. This has always been the case. She has constantly been the go-to person in case of children related trouble and when in need of advice. In return, over the years of my adulthood, gradually I have become a friend for her as well. This symbiosis of a mother-daughter bond, we had become very accustomed to.
It was this very same bond that was so difficult to break away from when we moved base camp to Hong Kong. The idea of leaving behind parents, and kind of dismantling the support system for both sides. It was scary. It always will be a challenge for anyone moving away from home.
It is a concern for most expats, with increasing number of people finding employment overseas, it’s a continuous endeavor to strike a balance between aging parents back home, and the promise of a new land. A struggle between the three generations. On one side is a promising future for our kids, and on the other side of the scale are our parents back home. We in the middle trying to walk the tightrope.
The UN Population Division report predicts that by 2050, the number of older persons in this world will exceed the number of young, for the first time in history. The report claims that the age group that grows the fastest will be the ‘oldest old’ those aged over 80. This statistic cannot be ignored for too long. I think somewhere even the employing companies will have to share the responsibility of supporting the employees and their dependents. Even though this is a new issue it is critical and needs attention.
Thankfully now, in the digital age, distance does not mean the demise of relationships. Emails, WhatsApp messages, and video calls have become the connecting line, enabling us to be with each other, at least virtually. Siblings, and friends chip in, in case of emergencies and provide urgent care. Yearly trips to and fro, from both sides, also work. It ensures constant contact with grandkids. I have seen that it rejuvenates both sides.
Most important perhaps is to keep the emotional bond strong as that is what matters the most. Time and space alone cannot weaken an authentic connection.
Speaking candidly, as much as I love and miss my parents, I feel it is important to think practically about it. It is after all the circle of life and the way of the earth, from ancient times to present. Life takes its own course. Our parents have the wisdom to understand this now, when a large chunk of their lives, they see in the rearview mirror.
People go to foreign lands, hoping and praying for the welfare of those left behind, while they, in turn, pray for the welfare of those travelling to distant lands. Thankfully now the world is much smaller, and as is rightly said, ‘Distance matters only if you fail to cover it through your mind.’
We need to make the best of what we have, and be prepared for the circumstances that go against our plans. This is the way of life, in today’s day and age. Flying across time zones and oceans. So Mum and Dad, let’s build the bridge across the ocean. See you on this side of the South China Sea.
Photos sourced from the Internet by the author
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.