The circle of life is brutal

They say that parenting is hard. We all know this to be true. We know the infant/toddler years are hard in one way and the teen years are hard in another. And I’m pretty sure that the period of time that comes after that, when you let go and allow your children make their own decisions, can be particularly vicious.

Do  you know what else is hard? The end of life.

My grandmother is 91 years old and in the last year things have changed substantially. She’s not remembering things. She’s let things go. She has stated to me several times that she just doesn’t care.

That’s not my grandmother. She’s become someone else and my heart is breaking.

We are trying to get her here, to North Carolina. We know she needs it and she finally agreed to it. If she’s here, we can take care of her, check on her, be with her. But I don’t know how we’re going to make that happen

One minute she is tender and kind and the next she’s a ferocious beast, snapping at everything in site. It can turn on a dime. The things that she once held near and dear are but a blip on her radar. She’s not incapacitated and while her short-term memory is lapsing, her mind is still there. How do you force someone to do something without it being incredibly painful and wreaking havoc on the relationship?

I don’t know that you can.

I told her today that she needs to fake it til she makes it. If she could just pretend to care until she gets here, then she can let it all go to shit and we’ll help take care of her. She said she would, but after a text from my mom, it sounds like she was just trying to pacify me.

I don’t want this kind of life for her. She deserves dignity and grace. She deserves to be loved and cared for, but when anyone tries to help, the ugliness starts spewing. It’s hard to show love and grace when you are on the receiving end.

This is not who she is.

My grandmother is sophisticated and elegant. She’s never without jewelry or lipstick. Everyone she’s ever encountered has commented on her beauty. She is exceptionally talented and has a deep love of the performance arts. She’s always got a book on her side table. She is fond of a good debate (though many may say “or a good old argument”). She is fiercely independent.

She is not this, yet this is where we are. I’m standing her at a loss, wanting to fight but feeling defeated.

Right now her fierce independence is winning, and the rest is fading. She needs our help. I just wish she’d let us give it to her.


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  1. Kristin says

    This is heartbreaking. I am so sorry you have to go through this with your loving Grandma. I remember when we pretty much had to force my Grandpa to live in an assisted living facility. It was so tough because he is stubborn and refused for a long time. I can’t imagine the feeling of having freedoms and restraints being taken away just because you’re aging. But you are doing to the right thing to put her in a position where you guys can be close by to help as necessary. Good luck and sending hugs your way. XOXO

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