by Vuthy Pisey
The Strongest Hero Is Not As Strong As We Think
What would you do when you get sick? Ask your parents for help, go to see the doctor, take leave from work or school, take medicine… These options seem predictable, right? What if you cannot do any of these? Can you imagine how hard it is to put on a smiling face and go to work as if nothing happens? How painful it is that you cannot take the medicine when your body needs it the most, and how suffocating it is that you cannot tell anyone that you are sick but pretend to be strong and energetic?
This situation is what my father had endured for many years before my family found out the truth about his sickness. Back then, I was in high school, and like every young teenager, I was enjoying my life without much concern about my family. It was a carefree life with my time mostly spent on studying, watching movies, hanging out with my friends, or playing with my phone.
I always thought my parents were very healthy, especially my father. He was always smiling, hard-working and physically strong. Nothing happened and I didn’t think anything would happen to my father until that one day – the day I almost lost him.
The Shocking Moment Where I almost Lost the Most Important Person in My Life
The ambulance had arrived in front my house, sirens were ringing. Two men rushed out to carry my father who was almost unconscious, a nurse was holding the oxygen mask and helping load my father into the ambulance.
I was so shocked to the point that I could not move my body. My tears were falling down, and I suddenly felt like I could not breathe. Time had stopped. Everything happened so fast that I did not know what to do. It took me a few minutes to regain my strength and run fast to the ambulance. I remember my father smiling at me and talking to me in his soft voice. “Pisey, be good and take care of yourself. Dad is okay and I will be back soon,” he said.
The ambulance left my house with my father and mother on it, leaving my sibling and me behind with tears streaming down on our faces.
Later my aunt told me that my father had been diagnosed with diabetes many years ago, but he hid it from everyone except my mom. He was supposed to take medicine regularly to control his blood pressure and sugar level, otherwise, he would feel exhausted, dizzy and his life would be at risk.
The day before, he did not feel well, but he told no one about it because he wanted to go on a work mission in the province, to bring in more income. He did not take the medicine as he was supposed to because he was afraid that if the employer found out that he was sick, they would ask him to go back home and would not assign him for the mission.
The workload in the province and the long bus travel worsened his condition, since his blood pressure was already high from not taking the medicine. Yet, as soon as he arrived home from the mission, he still used his remaining strength to take my family out with the money he worked so hard to earn.
When I heard this, it hurt my heart. It was like I was hit with a big hammer and stabbed with a knife. I kept thinking about how hard and painful it was for him to endure all of this alone by himself, and how stupid I was to think that he would always be healthy and that nothing bad would ever happen.
I am grateful for the love, sacrifice and commitment of my father to the family. Just like every parent in this world who would use their smile to hide their sickness and sorrow, and use their mental and physical strength to protect and ensure that their family lives happily, comfortably and sustainably.
So when you are complaining about how hard life is, how disappointed you are that you do not have anything cool or luxurious like other kids, or how tough and tiring your day was, think of your parents and what they have to go through just to make sure that you are safe and happy.
Don’t Grow Up And Ignore That Your Parents Are Growing Old Too
I admit that as we are young, there are a lot of things we want to experience and explore. We need our personal space and time to enjoy ourselves or the company of people with the same age who make us feel like we are part of this society. But when you are busy growing up, please pay close attention to your parents who are using their strength and life to look after you. Your parents would seem healthy and energetic to you, but they may not actually be.
“ I realized that nothing matters or is valuable if my parents are not there with me to celebrate it.”
From what I have experienced with my father’s sickness, I would strongly recommend some significant actions you should start taking now, before you may regret something or make a mistake you can’t reverse:
- Take note of your parents’ health and diet to see if they get have issues with their backs, knees, or places where the elder may get hurt.
- Go with your parents for a health check-up and understand your parents’ health conditions.Take note of the medicine they have to take regularly and situations where their health would be in danger.
- Be cautious and prepared for their health with the medicine and medical equipment so that you will know what to do on time should something happen to your parents.
- Spend time exercising with your parents and make it a routine to ensure the physical and mental well-being of your family.
- Spend time talking to your parents about their sleep, diet and work. Check up on them, so that they know you care about them. It will make them happy.
- Be an independent, reliable and resourceful child to make your parents know that you have grown up and are strong enough to accept all the challenges and bad things that happen in life. Show them that you can handle problems just fine. Thus, they will open up to you about their problems.
Think about the ultimate goal of your life—why you want to be rich and successful and who you want to be proud of your achievements and share them with. After the life lesson from my father’s case, I realized that nothing matters if my parents are not there to celebrate it with me. I will always have plenty of chances to find success, but I will never have second parents.
Everything can change in a blink of an eye that may make you regret something for the rest of your life. I was so lucky that God had given me a second chance to take care of my father. He is now safe and has started to take more care of his health for my family’s sake. How about your parents? Do they stay healthy and have you done enough to make sure that they can stay with you as long as possible?
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.