Once upon a time in a land nearby there lived a rich and loving couple. They had two children and loved them dearly.
Let us now move to many decades later…
He had died two months back. She was devastated. At 80, this was the second tragedy of her life. She had already lost her daughter. She was from an era when a woman’s entire life and being revolved around her husband. That had been her sustenance. Even at that age she would wait on him hand and foot—she would even get him a glass of water albeit often grudgingly, as her old bones creaked. She would continually crib about him watching TV and reading the newspaper instead of talking to her and get bugged with him for messing up the room…
But now he was gone. She was engulfed in a bottomless pit of loneliness, of feeling “not-needed”. Mind you, she was rather rigid in her ways and was soon asked to leave her son’s home (where she had moved in temporarily) on the flimsiest pretext. She moved back to her own home. She felt “discarded”. I watched helplessly. I had spent the most tender years of my life in her care…I could only watch…her social conditioning and sense of independence would not let her move in with me. Thankfully her grandson and granddaughter-in-law looked after her.
She died a year and a half later. I cried unabashedly, for more reasons than, one but I was actually happy for her. She did not deserve that life. Nobody does. Being old is seldom easy but being old, widowed and shunned by your own flesh and blood after the umpteen sacrifices you have made and your endless love…it kills something deep inside. Would you call this abuse? I would. I respect the fact that she never went to stay with her son again. Even when she visited him while he was recuperating after a surgery, she came back the same day. Given the generation she belonged to and her age, it was indeed a big thing. I salute her for I know just how much she loved her son and yearned to be with him, and how lonely she felt inside.
Abuse can come from any quarters. There is no stereotype. Put a stop to it.
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