My grandma is one of the most beautiful people I know. She’s been a role model for me throughout my life, and now in my adult years I’m blessed to call Grandma a “friend.”
We were fortunate to grow up on the same farm on which our grandparents lived, with just a few steps from our door to theirs. Our parents often traveled with show and sale cattle, which meant lots of sleepovers with Grandma. The bros and I have many a memory of grandma making us Sunny Boy porridge, scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. The scrambled eggs were the best part, but grandma always held them hostage until we finished our seedy (read: yucky) porridge. When we got home from school, she always had a snack ready for us before sending us out to do our chores.
Many kids go their entire lives without knowing their grandparents well; we knew just how lucky we were to have that opportunity.
After Grandpa was moved to a hospice, I moved in with Grandma to keep her company and help ease the transition to an empty house. What I thought would be a 6-12 month stay turned into 3 years during which time I got to know her as a person, not just a grandparent. And what began as an idol-worship relationship 29 years ago grew into a true appreciation of the woman.
Tomorrow we’ll move Grandma into a room in a so-called “senior community.” After suffering several injuries from falls recently and requiring round-the-clock care from family at home, she decided it was time to go somewhere “she wouldn’t be such a burden.” Though I certainly didn’t concede her burden belief, I was desperate for her to have the care and attention of professionals who knew how to help her.
But now with the time at hand and Grandma heartbroken to be leaving her home of 64 years, guilt and remorse for my part in this decision are making it harder and harder to follow through with. When she begs me to stop my aunt from making her move, it tears me apart. And when the pain is at it’s worst and she tells me she doesn’t want to live any longer, it’s all I can do to keep it together as I try to calm her. Though I know much of what she is saying is the dementia talking, I no longer know what the right answer is.
They say any action done out of love it the right action, but what if the person on the receiving end doesn’t see it that way?