I am often asked what caused me, a man in my 40’s, to agree to take in my 100 year old grandmother. I’ve given this a lot of thought in the nearly two years since Grandma moved in and the answer for me is quite simple.
I can’t imagine NOT doing it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I think I can’t do it anymore. It’s hard watching someone you love ever so slowly fading in front of you. Some days are better than others, but as time goes on she becomes more unsteady, both physically and mentally. It’s hard to see and even harder to predict and plan for. There is no guarantee that the rules and norms from yesterday will be the rules and norms for today.
Every time I see her asleep I stop to make sure she’s breathing. Bear in mind that she sleeps dozens of times a day, so I’m constantly stopping and thinking “oh god, this is it…” I then breathe a huge sigh of relief when I see that she’s still with us.
…See what I mean?
Truly, my fondest hope for Grandma is that one day I will go to wake her up and she will have slipped peacefully away. When that day comes I will be sad, certainly. But I will also be secure in the knowledge that she lived a good long life. At her age, the chance of a long protracted illness is almost nonexistent.
At times like this I think about how lucky I am that at least the reason she’s failing is simply her age. I think about the friends who have nursed loved ones through cancer or other forms of disease. What I’m going through is nothing compared to that.
When Grandma expresses appreciation for my willingness to have her in my home I merely tell her that she has herself to thank. She is the rare person who gets to benefit from the legacy of how she raised her kids. She raised a woman who raised her sons to be compassionate, caring and responsible adults. She is fortunate to benefit from her own legacy.
So….what caused me to take in my Grandma? It comes down to the way I was raised.