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The Diary of Anne Ku
PARENTS, NEED, LIFE
20 May 2000 Saturday changeable, chance of rain, not warm at all
At the neighbourhood garden centre (called "allotments" in England), I overheard a volunteer comforting a customer: "Life is never not worth living. At least you have your grandchildren who visit each weekend. I hardly ever see mine."
I am perplexed by anyone who feels as hopeless as this woman. But I can empathise, if you feel you have done everything you've wanted to do in this life, if everything has become predictable, if the joie de vivre has disappeared, if nothing interests you anymore, and most of all, if you don't feel needed.
My mother said such a thing to me once. She wished that her three kids would "need" her. She felt unneeded. Sure, we are no longer physically at her side, and we have all grown up to be financially independent adults. But we do still need her emotionally and spiritually. We don't call her just out of obligation.
While she was travelling in the last three months, I felt cut-off from her, and indeed something amiss. As soon as she returned home, she wrote to me and also sent a package full of goodies, including packets of hot and sour soup mixes. I called her immediately and was strengthened by her soft and soothing voice.
Even as grown-ups, we still need our parents' approval. We seek confirmation and reassurance. We ask for advice. In that sense, they hold such power over us, whether they know it or not.
The woman at the garden centre probably does not realise the important role she plays in her grandchildren's growth and development. She should, for life is always worth living.