What was I thinking?!?

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.

Grandma Sleeping:

DSC_2156

…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.

15 thoughts on “What was I thinking?!?

  1. Joanne Howard

    I love reading about life with your. grandma. She sounds like such a character. Count me among your admirers. You are doing a great job.

    Reply
  2. Kelly Hache

    Sometimes, I worry that, since I don’t have kids, I will grow old and decrepit alone or institutionalized. So sad. It makes me hope to die young. We absolutely SHOULD take care of our elders like you are doing…but few individuals have the patience or kindness to do so.

    That picture is sort of terrifying btw…

    Reply
  3. leslie

    Nicely written. I found you from my friend Elizabeth R, who posted on FB. I do think it’s sort of sad that most of us can’t/won’t take care of our elders ourselves. What you are doing is how it should be, I think.

    Reply
    1. Rob Jones Post author

      Thanks Leslie. Liz and I went to college together. I’m glad she shared it! I am not sure if it is for everyone…but I think of all the lonely old people in nursing homes and it makes me sad…I just couldn’t do that to Grandma (at least up until the point where she requires a level of nursing care I can’t provide). I do think everyone’s life would be richer if we took better care of each other. Parents really spending time with kids, kids spending time with Grandparents and then kids caring for their parents aas they age.

      Reply
  4. Dorothy Lemoult

    I’m so glad you started this blog Rob!
    I’ve been in awe of your experience with your grandma.
    What do you think your parents did specifically to raise you to be compassionate?

    Reply
    1. Rob Jones Post author

      There’s no quick answer to that Dorothy. It’s not like you can trace it back to a single moment. I will say that my Mom was one of the kindest-hearted people in the world. She spent most of her life doing in-home childcare, so caring for others was an example I witnessed growing up.

      Reply
  5. Indigo

    I have to openly admit, that I am not taking care of my elders. Frankly I do not think I could do it. I am too selfish, too impatient….. too….. hurt. Too… whatever. What you are doing is what we all SHOULD do, but many of us… like myself, don’t have what it takes. You are right, You were raised right, but you are also exceptional. Those of us on the outside are in awe when we look at your inside.

    Reply
    1. Rob Jones Post author

      Full disclosure: This would be a much harder thing if it was my parents rather than my Grandma….I lived in fear of having to care for my Mother because our relationship was so complicated. It’s easier with Grandma because we don’t have a lot of the baggage that children often have with their parents….

      Reply
  6. Lucy

    As an only child, I can’t think of any other way but to have my parents with me when they are in their advanced age. The cover photo for this blog is superb.

    Reply

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