Resilience

Grandma complains of the ravages of age.

Grandma complains of the ravages of age.

Grandma’s clearly got a cold of some sort that’s sapping her energy.  You can see it in her eyes.  She’s just not feeling 100%.  She’s also been complaining of feeling like her head is “fulla gunk” and her voice is raspy. Yup, she’s got something.

I’d be more concerned, but she’s still got her sense of humor and her appetite has been incredibly good the past few days.  Besides, I figure the worst place to go at her age is the doctor’s office with all the nastiness in the air there.  Best to just monitor her for changes and keep tabs on how she’s doing.

Tonight, we sat on the couch together for awhile and had a nice chat.  She expressed continuing frustration with the advancing disease of age.  In particular she talked about the issues she’s having with her memory.  “I need to focus”, she said, then went on to explain that she thinks that she’s still capable of being more active mentally than she is.  

We talked about that, and I brought up that she’s probably feeling isolated because she can’t hear very well, so it’s hard to have a conversation. She agreed, then fell into a sad silence.  I took the opportunity to ask if there was anything I could do to make it easier for her.  

She looked sternly at me.

What is it, Grandma?”

“Well..I don’t want you to make things too easy on me.  I need to be able to do for myself.”

I try not to make things too easy for her. I often resist the temptation to help, knowing that she prefers to struggle through it.  She’s determined that she’ll only stop being able to do things when she stops trying to do them.  Is it any wonder the woman has survived to 101?

I’ve noticed that most every really old person you meet has a similar resilience and drive. Those qualities are what get them through life’s inevitable tough times. When I get stressed out I try to remind myself of all the things Grandma (and her generation) survived and it makes my situation seem sort of silly. I wonder sometimes if my own generation will have the tools it takes to make it into extreme old age.

If so, we’ll be the first skateboard riding, video game playing generation of ancients.

THAT is something I’d like to see.

Grandma makes a heart.

Grandma makes a heart.

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