So today, a lifelong friend dropped by to pick up something for her husband, and she asked, "So what do you all DO now?" I explained that we took care of my grandmother... although that had become less time consuming in some ways now that she is in the ALF... and I told her about Timothy. I didn't even get around to telling her that my husband, Greg, delivers Meals on Wheels to senior citizens at least one day a week, and he has taken on more and more responsibilities with his mother, who will be 86 in June. He takes care of her yard, helps her with household repairs, drives her to out-of-town appointments, and much more... and as times goes by, I am sure he will be doing even more for her.
Actually, my friend who dropped by today probably understands better than many. Her own 80-something mother was in the car. I invited them inside, but she said they had been out running errands, and her mom was tired and ready to go home. She also told me that her oldest son and his wife now live in England, where I think they are doing mission work. When they left the U.S., their little girl was 2... and my friend and her husband saw the child every day, since they lived virtually next-door. She kept saying, "I know you must be heartbroken without your baby." I could tell she genuinely understood how lonely it's been around our house since Timothy left.
I think my point in sharing this with you is that most people don't have a clue what it's like for members of the Sandwich Generation. They may have some idea of what it's like to care for children and your family... particularly if they have - or had - children and a family. But many don't understand in the least what is involved in caring for an elderly person... even one who is fairly able-bodied and mentally clear. I'm not sure that you can even truly prepare someone for the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that are involved. If you try to share this information with others, they often don't believe it - or they think their situation will be different. More often, they simply don't listen.
My sister-in-law has been experiencing huge challenges with her 95-year-old mother over the last six months. She has told me about several experiences that were quite familiar to me... but it was as if they were totally new to her. One day she said a friend of hers had told her that... "a lot of people are going through the exact same things as you," and she said, "You know... I guess she's right!" HOPEFULLY, some of you who read this blog will realize that you are not alone... that there are a lot of people experiencing the same issues you have with your senior - and your spot in the "sandwich."
More importantly, I hope we all realize that our situation may test our patience (if not our endurance and our sanity at times), there is very possibly someone who faces bigger challenges and could use a hug and a simple, "I understand what you are going through." My friend did this for me today... and I am truly grateful. Is there someone you could bless and encourage out of your experience base?
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My grandmother continues to have good days and bad. When I visited yesterday, she was at the nurse's desk getting a Tylenol - for a headache - or so she told the nurse. We went to her room, and she sat down on her bed. The pill was in its little cup on her walker seat. I asked, "Would you like some water?" She looked at me like I was crazy. "... to take your Tylenol?" I continued. "Yes!" she answered. I asked about her headache. "I don't have a headache." "But you told Lola your head was hurting." "I know it, but I sat out there, and I just hurt." I asked where she hurt, and she replied, "All over!" I found out later that "out there" meant she went to the dining hall and listened to special music. I'm not clear on how that made her "hurt all over," but the whole time I visited, she laid on her bed. Usually, she is up and down and won't lie still - even if she is not feeling well - but yesterday, she didn't budge until I asked if she was ready to go to lunch.
|Timmy modeling new|
clothes I made for him.
|Timothy and Zola in their|
matching outfits I made for them.
|One of the quilts I took to show to|
my grandmother recently. She loved it!