This blog is a cry for help. A protest against the machinations of certain family members whose greed-fuelled self-interest has been wreaking havoc in the lives of my maternal grandmother, my parents, my sister and my family. This unrelenting ruthlessness has claimed one victim already, my elder uncle and godfather, who passed away in miserable circumstances on Christmas Eve 2014. Now, I see my grandmother Mercy trapped in that same downward spiral, living life from one ailment to the next, while her list of medications piles perilously higher. This will inevitably take its toll on her kidneys, and drastically reduce the quality and quantity of her life.
The root cause of all her illnesses: stress. Sadness because her younger two children, their spouses and families refuse to behave as family should. Hurt, because she feels she is financially dependant on her younger son, and while he does provide for her, she knows she is not welcome in his house and so chooses to live alone in Mumbai with a maid to look after her. Grief, over the untimely demise of her elder son. Worry, because her eldest daughter, my mother, is the one who has been fighting her battles. And finally, painful humiliation, that this is the pitiful condition a once-happy and flourishing family is now reduced to.
So if this is a family matter, why am I blogging publicly? Because what else do you do when family cuts you off without telling you the reason why? When you have made every effort to resolve matters privately, only to be met with stone-cold silence? When family will not communicate, even to discuss the care and well-being of this elderly widow who binds us all together? And when I am now aware that the actions of certain members have escalated beyond the bounds of reasonable family conflict and into the darker domain of elder abuse?
My grandmother’s happiness and dignity, her very life is at stake here. The problem is compounded by the family being scattered around the world. The instances of abuse that I aim to bring out occurred in different countries where she doesn’t reside anymore. So which authority do I approach and where? And even if I manage to find someone to listen, my grandmother herself won’t admit to any of this.
Being the product of a bygone era where problems were hushed up, she refuses to speak out openly against her errant children or their families. Ever the kind and gracious hostess, she puts up a smiling, cheerful facade for her visitors. She only sheds her tears and freely unburdens her heart to my mother and myself. She doesn’t want to see any of her children or their families punished; all she wants is for them to change and love her as she loves them. She doesn’t have the level of awareness to understand the wider issues involved here, to understand that she has rights, but I do. I know abuse doesn’t end by ignoring it, or suffering it silently, or by merely reciting prayers for deliverance as she does.
Prayer is also action, and hence this blog, to speak up for this dear old lady in the hope that the people responsible for her plight will realise the enormity of their errors, repent and amend their ways. To make the point that no matter who you are, or what your excuse, you CANNOT treat any old and vulnerable person this way. My grandmother’s one and only wish is for peace among her children. Peace cannot coexist with evil intentions and injustice; and so this is me, trying to make her wish come true by first getting Justice for Mercy.