Choosing Reality Over Expectations

and it just a deep breath away

Fatmawati Santosa
4 min readJul 30, 2022


I hadn’t been home since the beginning of 2020. So, when I booked my ticket in 2022 to return home, my head was full of all expectations and scenarios. I made a thorough plan of what to do, who to meet, what to eat, and where to go. The scene of me hugging each of my family and friends brought me to tears before I fell asleep at night.

The departure day arrived. I enjoyed every step of getting there — it was the flight from Munich to Jakarta with a layover at Doha. From my apartment door to my family’s house, it took me almost 28 hours. That’s the way it is.

There was something different. Something unusual. Pandemic has indeed changed the way of living in the country. The place where I call home feels a bit unfamiliar. It is not about the macro level, how the government sets up the Covid rule to follow, but inside my family.

I see my parents have gotten older quickly. Though his voice is still loud, I see how my father steps down the stairs slowly, one step at a time, while holding the trail. My mother is still on her cancer medication. She feels exhausted quicker than she used to. Things we used to do when I was home for a vacation feel different.

[Image by the Author instagram@fa__va] Place where I received the news about my mother.

One day, I was in Bali with two of my best friends It was a trip I was looking for, a week in Bali, mostly just a staycation, enjoying drinks and food with good friends. On the second day, I was struck by the news that my mother was at the ER. I flew back the next day.

It was a new experience at the age where I am now. I understand where I am supposed to be and what I want to do. I want to be present next to my parents. However, the scary thoughts haunted me — thought of losing someone I love. It was a two-hour flight, and I battled so much with my thoughts. I even thought if I needed to quit my job and move back with my parents.

I came back to my breaths. I was about to lose my sanity when I thought, “I still have them. I still have this moment. Concentrate on how I would like to spend time with them. Yes, they are not energetic as they were used to. They are getting older, and so am I.

How it ended up: I spent more time with them. I went to the hospitals for my mother’s checkups. We had…



Fatmawati Santosa

sharing thoughts, experience, and lessons learned | an engineer on working days and a dreamer for most of the time :)