Have you ever heard of the term "sandwich generation"? Well I am a part of this generation. I am actively caring for an infant/toddler as well as a quickly aging grandparent, my great grandmother. I spend most mornings at my great grandmother's home helping her in every aspect of life you can imagine. It is almost like having two babies. I split the care of my great grandmother with my mom, but it still is a round the clock job. Enjoyable? Incredibly, at times. Exhausting? Incredibly, every day. And incredibly hard on my emotions. Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, love, joy, just to name a few I experience within a 30 minute time frame on a daily basis.
I love watching Baby DIVA engage in communication with her great great grandmother. I realize what an awesome opportunity Baby DIVA and her great great granny have just by the fact they have met and spend so much precious time together. I love that I also get to experience these moments with my great grandmother as well as be a bystander to the awesome bond that my daughter is forming with her great great grandmother. What is so incredibly hard for me and my emotions, is watching my great grandmother deteriorate and will herself to die. She is done. She is ready. She wants to leave and join her husband wherever it is we go after earth. But her physical body is not done. Sure she is aging and become weaker and unable to move like a young spring chicken, but beyond that her body is in good shape. She could keep right on living for quite a while still. She does not want assistance from anyone. She fusses and yells at me for helping her with laundry or bringing her lunch. She gets so angry, and yet she can not care for herself at all anymore. She refuses to tell me if she needs anything or wants anything. She will gladly continue to wear soiled undergarments for days instead of asking me to get her more or to help her change. So this results in me the grandchild having to yell at my great grandmother to let me check her panties. Hello! How mortifying that must be for her, but it has to be done. And it is not just me. She behaves this way for anyone who wants to help her. I understand the fear of allowing others to help you. You lose your sense of self. I do try very hard to not treat her like a child or demean her in any way. But again it is so hard when she wont work with me. She just works against me and pushes me away.
I brace each morning when i walk into her home to find her gone. I prepare to find the shell of my great grandmother lying in her bed and her soul gone to be with my pawpaw. I brace myself to hold my composure for my daughter and to know Great Granny has passed on to where she wants to be. I know this day will come. But it does not make it any easier. I love my granny despite the aging bitterness she has developed. I sympathize with her anger as I hustle about cleaning her home and helping her bathe. I too have had to have people care for me when I spent time incapacitated due to illness. I can relate to the horrible feeling of helplessness. However, I can not come up with a way for granny to understand that caring and helping her is out of love and it is something we as humans do for each other. Yes it is tiring but that does not matter. I have to clean my own floors too and that is tiring but I do it out of love for my family and my home. My heart just breaks when she tells me to leave and stop picking up for her, to please just let her die.
I cherish my time with her. I search my mind and soul daily for ways to help her find appreciation in the little bit of life she has left. But honestly, what do you do for a 90 year old woman who refuses to get out bed. A woman who smiles at her great great grandchild but shows agony of wanting to die in her eyes. A woman with so many years of repression behind her that she can not appreciate life.
This has been a very frustrating week with my great grandmother, hence this blog post. I am at a loss on what to do. She begs me to let her go live in a nursing home and die. I don't find this acceptable. My mom and I wish to allow her to be in her own home for as long as possible. But we are getting to the stage of the game where she can not be trusted to be alone. She struggles just to lift herself out of bed. We have monitoring systems in place to keep an eye on her. Cameras, sound devices, and an alarm system for her to utilize if she gets in a bind. But she refuses to use the alarm, go figure. This week granny is weaker than before. I think she may be getting a cold of some kind. She wont tell me what is wrong or what aches though. She is afraid she will "bother" me with her complaints. UGH!! I just am so frustrated!