Aging is jarring

by - November 18, 2019

Mum Pham was always a little fragile even in my early memories with her. Once upon a time, according to old photos she was young and - well, ‘fit’ might be an exaggeration. I suppose she was more ‘physically able’ because she was slimmer, but she preferred to walk and sit rather than run and jump. She kept her figure when Big Brother Pham was born but when I happened, she ballooned and couldn’t drop her pregnancy weight. Yup, I ruined Mum’s body with my pho cravings from inside her belly.

Dad Pham was always invincible from as early as I can remember. Dad has always been super fit because he was active as a kid - his favourite past time was swimming and playing at the beach, even when it meant a good beating when he got home because he’d skipped all his meals and curfew to stay in the water. Dad had a black belt in taekwondo, and could never sit still for long when we were growing up - he’d pace up and down the hallway while Mum and kids watched TV on the couch. And did I mention he was in the navy for most of his young to adult life?

On one of my Sunday visits with Dad this year, I noticed he was struggling to open a glass Moccona coffee jar. His fitness is finally fading in his mid-70s, though I think if Mum Pham was still around he’d be fighting fit because he needed to take care of her. Since the heartbreak of losing her, he’s aged dramatically. It’s like love kept him young in a very real way.

It’s jarring to see Dad Pham is now old and frail; it feels like it happened overnight. Luckily Little Sissy Pham and I are better equipped to aid him having learned from our experience with Mum’s ailing health. I replaced his glass coffee jar with one that has a plastic lid so it’s easy to open and close. It’s the little changes in what he’s capable of that remind me he’s not invincible anymore.

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