Wendy Suzuki professor of neural science and psychology at New York University shares her experience of dealing with her father’s condition of dementia.
Telling about her traditional Japanese family, Wendy says
“You can think of us as a Japanese American version of Downtown Abbey, without the accent, the servants or the real estate. That’s us. So when the time came, Mom and Dad packed me up in the car and drove me there and – again, Downtown Abbey- we didn’t hug. We just wave goodbye.”
Reading Wendy’s version about the importance of expressing love in life, I thought about my own parents and the way they have raised us. In my memory my father appears as a man who always remained busy in his work. On the other hand, my mother being a house wife spent a lot of time with us and we the kids remained naturally closed to her.
I was in my third grade when I started facing difficulty in mathematics and the day before my exam my father proposed that in order to help me in preparing for my paper; he would take me with him to his office. But, there was that wide gap between us that I as a kid was reluctant to go with him and with some mixed feelings of reluctance and fear, I tried to make some protest but to no avail.
I remember my mother reminded me that I must listen to my father and try to write my solution neatly, for while solving my division sums I was in a habit of creating mess on paper.
Those were the days when my father hadn’t started working from home yet. So, being an IT consultant he visited many offices on that day.
All day long, I remained with him and while working on computer and in the midst of solving queries in program, he would find some time and would write sums for me to solve on my notebook.
Writing a question in his neat handwriting, he not only taught me how to solve a problem but also taught me to write neatly.
On that day, I observed my father closely. He wasn’t that much strict. For, wearing the cloak of seriousness my father was hiding a kind and considerate heart.
He was worried about my studies and when I scored A+ in my paper, my mother was happy and my father appeared extremely satisfied.
Going back to Wendy’s story, her father started to loss his memory and Wendy thought of a plan. With little bit of hesitation, she would start her conversation with these three words of “I love you” and her parents would respond in a similar way of “I love you too”.
The day her father recalled his last conversation with her was the beautiful day for Wendy. She was sure that the mere words of “I love you” had brought change in their lives.
That was Wendy’s experience and my experience of life has taught me that parents not always need to use these three words. True, the words can make difference but then action bring people close to each other.
Today, my father is still a same kind of person. He’s quiet by nature and for most of the time remains busy in his work. He likes to maintain discipline and he wants the house to remain clean and trying to keep his things in order , I and my siblings enjoy doing his work. For, he doesn’t express but we’re aware that he loves us all.