Is anybody really ready for their lives to be turned upside down, when parents need help and the adult child steps in?
My memories of my grandparents are very vivid. They were
wonderful grandparents but one day life took a slide backwards and age catches up.
My grandparents who lived in their own home and maintained all the aspects of their lives were one day uprooted and moved to their daughter’s home.
My grandparents were still very much in control of their own lives, in some areas but in others, not anymore.
My mother, as their loving daughter, their roles became reversed. She was not ready for this change. Suddenly, my mother became the parent and they became her trusting children.
NOW MY MOTHER HAD TO SET THE RULES AND BOUNDARIES FOR HER PARENTS EVEN WHEN IT WAS HARD FOR HER.
When my grandparents argued with my mother, such as, about them wanting to use their own sheets, blankets, and bedspread on their new, adopted bed, poor mom, she could not understand why. They were perfectly good sheets and blankets already on the bed but what they needed, was something familiar. My mother came to understand that, eventually.
But how do you prepare yourself for the day your life turns upside down? Now your parents are your children and you have to take care of their personal needs.
There were no such classes, thirty five years ago when all this happened. You just had to wing it as you went along.
My mother was confused and definitely not ready for this change. Now she was the CARE GIVER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR and the one IN CHARGE.
My grandparents migrated from Wilno, Lithuania before the First World War on a cattle boat. They were happily married for approximately seventy-five years. I loved to listen to them argue. Never fight. Just pick, pick, pick.
They always did everything together. My grandmother cooked while my grandfather helped and they both made their bed every morning.
Thankfully, they were both in good health up until the end. They always were coherent and never violent. They both lived into their late 90′s.
My mother was lucky she had family which lived close by to help. But my grandparents, as they came to rely on my mother, would not accept help from other family members. They were more comfortable with my mother.
Obviously, this put a huge burden on my mother. She was working full time while making sure her parents were comfortable and safe. She could not travel or leave home for longer than a weekend.
Towards the end of my grandparent’s lives they could not walk and as a result, their care became to physically demanding. My grandfather ended up in the hospital. He was so upset with having been placed into the hospital without his permission; he never spoke to my mother again.
My mother was a special person. She loved and kept her parents comfortable and safe until they both passed away. I never heard her complain.
Today when the grandparents are living with family members, it is rare. Many are sent to nursing or convalescent homes.
To make that heart wrenching decision is very difficult on the family but sometimes it is the only option.
As I am getting older, it scares me to think, that someday my children will have to do for me what my mother did for her mother. I hope I don’t fight them on this matter. Nobody can predict the future.
Let me hear from you about your experiences on this article or about any of my articles.
Copyright 2006 Linda Meckler
Linda was very lucky she had the love of her grandparents throughout her lifetime. She remembers these years her mother became the parent of her own parents.
Currently she is the author of “Ghost Kids Trilogy,” three books in one book. CHRISTY 12, AND HER BROTHER BRAD, 16 MOVE INTO AN OLD HOUSE ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN AND MEET TWO GHOST KIDS. Meet a Magical Blue Vase. Join Christy and Brad on a Pirates’ Treasure Hunt. ADVENTURE/MYSTERY Love, Family Values and Charity burst off the pages.
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