Overcoming the Fear of Innovation and Change
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”
My parents were the most precious gifts life had given me. They were two different people with different characteristics who complemented and completed each other perfectly. I did a feel a tinge of regret that my dad worked very hard throughout the week in his company and came back home so tired that we did not even have the heart to talk to him. But he made up for it by taking us out on weekends, and sometimes on vacations, and giving us all the love and attention we would ever want. My mom, on the other hand, had the fear of anything that had its connection to modern technology. She had this unreasonable fear of new technology and the fear giving up what she was comfortable with in exchange for the unknown. She had a saying “better is the enemy of good” which I strongly disagreed with. We had a tough time bringing in a new oven, TV or any other gadgets in our home because she’d oppose it vehemently.
We had classic wooden blinds with cord controls in our home, which at times my dad argued was not safe. But mom protested against the change but made sure that no cords were left dangling to make it safe for us. She was one of the most loving and caring people I have come across in my life. She loved cooking for us, helping us with our homework, and taking care of our home in every way she could. The days I spent at home with my mom and dad in Gladstone were the best, and I miss them so much. Our town had a mascot called Happy Rock which quite symbolized our childhood that was filled with happiness and was steady and secure as a rock.
It was a great shock to me when my Mom called to inform that while they were watching TV, dad had a massive heart attack, and he was gone before they reached the hospital. I lived in Winnipeg, 94 miles from home and did not know how to cover that distance. I called my sister Colleen and informed her about the incident – who broke down sobbing. She told me she would be there as soon as possible, and I rushed to my car. All through the 94 miles, I relived every moment I spent with my dad and regretted once again how hard he’d worked. When I reached home, I saw that my neighbor Diane was at home, and she was taking care of mom, who was completely shaken. Knowing that I would never talk to my dad again, I sensed a wave of pain flooding over me. Now was the time when I could either sit perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have left, my mom.
My dad had always been the pillar of support for my mom; now, she looked so vulnerable without him. I had to be her support and lead her to find an aim and goal to overcome her grief. My sister and rest of our family members arrived in time for the funeral.
I decided that mom should stay with me in Winnipeg for a few months until she recovered from her shock. My sister agreed with me. Though mom was reluctant initially, she agreed, with some persuasion. One of the biggest fears mom had of living with me was my fully automated home. What I lacked was maybe the robot in my home to complete the automation. From my LightWeaves Graber Motorized Roller Shades that were timed to rise and lower, to the kitchen and bathroom, innovative technology was everywhere around. On my Mom’s last visit she had almost freaked out at the shades rising on their own or me turning off the lights with a remote control. She wasn’t a great fan of the TV show, the Jetsons, either, of which I never missed an episode.
As we entered our home, I sensed that mom had no energy to complain about the automation anymore. In fact, she welcomed the fact that the smart home technology allowed me to make my home more efficient and easy to control. Since the shock had drained all her energy, she enjoyed controlling the light in her bedroom by raising or lowering the shades with the touch of a button from the comfort of her bed. Her body and soul needed complete rest, which was made easier at my home. She learned to turn conveniently on the coffeemaker from the comfort of her bed or crank up the heating before we got back home, and timed the shades to wake her up early in the morning, with the sun shining on her face.
I was amazed by the change that had taken place in her but never asked her about this because I was just happy she was coping with her loss and grief in a manner I could be proud of. After a few weeks, mom told me that she regretted that she had not embraced technology earlier because it could have saved my dad’s life. At the hospital, she had read a brochure on cardiac arrests that revealed that nearly 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That’s one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes. Without rapid and appropriate treatment, most of these cardiac arrests will result in death. Thousands of lives could be saved through public access to automated external defibrillators that my mom was unaware of.
She slowly discovered a goal and aimed for her life. She joined as a volunteer with The Heart and Stroke Foundation and started on creating awareness on how to enable faster, better cardiac emergency response and treatment and faster, better stroke response and treatment. I am glad that my Mom chose such an amazing path to recover from her loss. She has come a long way from the woman who moved from window to window tugging at the cords to lower or raise the blinds.