Grandmas doing well, right now all the stars have aligned and my routine has no hiccups. Our talk today was sweet which has become more of the norm. For those new to my blog I care for my 93 year old grandmother how has Alzheimers. As she held my hand and we sat and talked she asked me several times how many children did I have. Each and every time I said one and she laughed. She said "You have only one child why, what happened?" I said that nothing happened but life. That I worked and as time passed my family just didn't grow. She laughed at my answer and shook her head and told the home attendant that was crazy. Her disease allows these moments to pass by so quickly which allows me not sit in the moment like if it was a regular conversation with a regular person.
As she looked at a picture of her mother who passed away when she was perhaps in her mid thirties to early forties she sigh and let a dry cry out. Those where you make the sound but no visible tears are in your eyes she asked me "Did you ever meet my mother, she is dead now, I miss her so much." I responded with "No I never met her but yes I know she is gone now." She then held my hand tighter and asked "How about your mother, is she dead or is she alive?" My mother is her daughter but she doesn't remember that and yes she is still alive but we don't speak.
things I keep on my fridge to maintain my focus
I don't share the details but I tell her that yes my mother is alive. She seems to brighten up and says "How lucky are you to have her alive, I hope you two are close and you take care of each other." I drop my head and take a deep breath. I hold her hand and say "I take care of you and that is whats important." I may be "lucky" that my mother is alive but we aren't close and we don't take care of each other. My mother has Emphysema and the last time I saw her was perhaps three years ago when I went to visit her in the hospital.
Something happened to my mom after her marriage to my two younger sister's father ended after seventeen years together. I guess her broken heart never fully healed and life just became something you go through not something you take part in. The mom I knew and loved slowly faded away. Little by little the talks and visits became less and the arguments and disagreements became more. That trickled onto my relationships with my sisters as well. Tell one argument became so ugly we didn't speak for about four years. Then one day I reached out to my sisters and we got together for dinner but that was a roller coaster ride of the same issues and emotions.
I tried to connect as best I could but I had to walk away again and that lasted for some time until I tried again and that trickled into my second relationship and didn't end well and I had to walk away again. Then my sisters called to say my mother was in the hospital. I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday. I'm in my office and my boss says I have a call from my sister Christina, I said that can't be and he said but it is. I answer the phone and she says "Hello Mari, sorry to bother you but I thought you should know that mom is in the hospital. She isn't doing so great. I wasn't going to call you but thought out of respect that you are her oldest daughter you should know. She is in blah blah hospital if you want to come see her."
illustration by pinterest
Ok now what caught your attention most from that convo? Was it the "sorry to bother you or the thought you should know or the I wasn't going to call you but...?" For me it was all the above and beyond. I just sat in my chair looking around my office in disbelief. As instincts dictate I grab the info and go to my boss and let him know the situation and proceed to leave to go see my mother. On the drive there I'm talking to myself saying how I can't believe these are the circumstances that are leading me to see them again. I get to the hospital and get a semi loving welcome and a "sorry to put you out of your way" comment again.
I visited my mother every day she was in there and my daughter too. It was heartbreaking to see my child sit through all the uncomfortableness that was clearly surrounding us. Yes the conversations were pleasant but we were treated more like strangers than family. As her eldest daughter that should not be what I was feeling. I remained in contact for about two weeks after she left to hospital. I tried all I could to help and when nothing seemed to work I wrote my sisters an email that as of right now still hasn't been answered. A week after I sent the email, I walked away. Here we are three years later.
I share this today in reflection of what Thanksgiving is suppose to mean and what it really means to me. I am not preparing my guest room for family and I am not on a flight to any specific destination. I am home preparing to share a special meal with my daughter and our friend. I am at my destination I am with my family. I am exactly where I need to be and where saving myself has bought me. You see loving people especially your family sometimes just isn't enough. And when it isn't enough and you have exhausted every means you have to save yourself.
illustration by pinterest
A Thanksgiving of Reflection of being grateful for how far I have come and how much I have healed. Of how I have channeled that love that isn't reciprocated into giving my time and attention to my volunteer projects. On not focusing on what isn't and my never be but instead continuing to send them love and investing my energy on who and what is in front of me and build on that. Not bitterness but love that drives me not hate but empathy and compassion is what I strive for.
As you sit with those you love and share a meal remember to express your gratitude loudly! Don't think that they know you love them, tell them. If you feel you need to try again and make amends do it! Thanksgiving is not just about the food and lavish settings and rushing to go shopping. Thanksgiving is truly about those who have added to your life and blessed you with love.
I am grateful for you all that come visit with me and read what I have to say. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with if not just one of you that may be feeling unheard or like you are the only one who is going through or has gone through whatever it is that I have shared. I am grateful for the love of my beautiful daughter, my sunshine my everything. She is the reason I do all I do. I am grateful for the authentic friendships I have built and continue to build. I am grateful for just life. Everyday is beautiful, every day we have a choice. Choose to live your best life. And to my mother, thank you for giving me Life.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Always stress free xo,