I feel compelled to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post due to the interesting comments that were made. There was even a little debate on my blog which has never happened before!
The ageism that Ming has admitted to is not directed at just Anthony; it is more generalized. He is easily annoyed with all things old – not just people. For example we live in a very old house where things are beginning to break down and wear out – old carpets, broken furniture, warped flyscreens, holes through which mice enter, old plumbing, electrical wiring etc. Similarly, we have problems outside with old lawnmowers, trees, sheds, hoses, water tanks etc.
This is all perfectly normal for an old farm and none of it is insurmountable, but getting things fixed is expensive and time-consuming and, for young Ming, a source of constant frustration.
Add to this old Anthony’s deterioration in health and we have a young Ming with an aversion to both the concept and reality of the word öld”.
If I were to define compassion, I would say it is equal parts sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is feeling sad FOR somebody else, whereas empathy is feeling sad LIKE somebody else. In general, the latter does not come easily to young people when dealing with old people.
I think that if Ming weren’t compassionate, he would not be worried about his lack of empathy for Anthony. He wants to be empathetic but he can’t feel it and I can’t make him feel it, so we accept it. His love for Anthony runs deep, but his liking of Anthony is problematic because Ants is now so old, frail and incapacitated that Ming avoids seeing him. Strangely, I am the one most hurt by this as Ants is more philosophical and remembers feeling the same aversion to his own father after his father had a stroke.
Yesterday’s post was not intended as a moan or a cry for help; I was just telling it like it is, warts and all!
When people ask Ming, “So, what are you doing these days?” Ming always replies proudly, Ï’m following in Dad’s footsteps.” I used to think Ming was referring to the fact that he is milking cows but now I think his statement means much more.
Oh yeah, and a bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. We are lucky.