The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. These past several weeks, dealing with my parents, has been quite difficult. But people have been overwhelmingly supportive.
As my father went into the ICU and had to undergo brain surgery this week, I repeatedly sent out prayer requests on my Facebook status, in all of my writing groups, and via all three of my Twitter accounts. People I have never corresponded with have been adding him to their prayers lists and sending their best wishes. They are even following up on his status.
I started the How to Laugh at Alzheimer's blog as a way for me to cope with my mother being placed in a nursing home and becoming a person I do not know. Comments have flooded in from all over, sharing the experiences of others and thanking me for what I am doing. It is quite humbling.
The hospital where my father is recuperating is full of hundreds of doctors and nurses. Yet every day I am greeted with a smile. People ask how I am holding up. They are patient as I ask a hundred million questions, to satisfy my need to know everything that is going on. They have been patient as I have burst into tears over seemingly nothing.
Friends are asking how I am doing and offering prayers and support. Some of them are dealing with their own horrible family and personal issues. Yet, they are taking the time to talk to me, even if I seem a little irrational or appear to be jumping the gun. I am trying my best to keep up with what they are doing and how their situations are panning out. I don't mean to be self-centered and I am trying hard to not be. And they seem to understand that.
I love the offers of food. I would love to pretend that I am keeping track of what I am eating and when, but I know I am not. I can forget to eat because I am so wrapped up in helping both of my parents. People are making sure I am fed and getting rest.
And I am getting back in touch with members of the family from whom I have been accidentally estranged for a few years. It was never my fight or my issues that caused the separation. But as soon as they found out what was going on, they reached out to me as I had reached out to them. I am grateful. I just wish it wouldn't be such horrible experiences leading to us bonding again.
I truly feel that the positive support that we are getting regarding our parents is karma paying my parents back for being such beautiful people. They have always taken care of everyone else, while simultaneously caring for their own family. I have only one biological sister, but we grew up with numerous brothers and sisters. I like to think that my helping others in need is contributing to getting help now when I need it. And I hope that I can pay it all forward some day, when someone else is in need of a little kindness.