I remember her scathing remark. The disapproving tone echoing throughout the otherwise quiet room.
The hospital floor was full, and so, my dad had to temporarily share a room. My siblings and I visited him as often as we could – sometimes together, sometimes splitting days depending on our schedule. I was with one of my siblings when it happened.
We were catching up and sitting with our sleeping father. Only the soft sounds of the tv and machines in the background. There was a small curtain separating his neighbor from us. Out of respect, we tried to keep things a bit quiet.
The neighbor’s family came in, and one of them stared in our direction. She didn’t turn her head. She looked at us, seemingly in disdain.
“You all should be ashamed of yourself.”
I didn’t quite know what to do. Was she really talking to us ?
“I seen your dad here. He been here a while. You all should be ashamed – letting him lie in here all alone all the time. You all need to help out more and take care of him at home. Seems a bit selfish if you ask me.”
I stared at her in disbelief. Who does she think she is? One of her family members grabbed her and tried to quiet her down. She continued grumbling to them.
I was appalled. She thought she knew our world. She thought she knew better, wanted to pass judgement. What did she know?
She didn’t know how long our dad had been ill. She didn’t have any idea what he suffered from, and what kind of care was necessary. She didn’t think about how young we were, or how ill-equipped we might be. She didn’t care to even think about our situation, or what we might have been doing the past few years to keep things all together. She didn’t see the countless hours we spent with him, and all that we did to get him that help he needed.
Yet, she thought she knew enough to judge. She knew enough to scold us and tear us down in a vulnerable time in our lives.
I don’t remember how I responded or what my sibling may have said. I was just dumbfounded over how it was so easy for her to come to those conclusions.
Bottom line? She was clueless, and it was outright rude to say those things. For someone to assume that we didn’t care or do anything for our sick father is beyond infuriating.
From that point, I decided that I would never let anyone do that to us. I knew that for as long as our father was sick, the judgements and comments would be there. It was up to us to turn a dead ear and move on. It was difficult, as I saw later in time, those judgements would continue even in the most unexpected moments.