My Grandparents, Stress and Stuff
It has been a rough start to the day, things just haven’t gone the way that I want them to and I am finding it difficult to improve my attitude. I am trying to, I really am. I am working hard to tear away the moody mindset and focus on the positive but I am having limited success.
Given the chance I’d love to go workout on my heavy bag for a while and then spend a couple of hours running up and down the court but those are not options right now. I can’t ignore the things that I have to do at the office and yet at the moment I can’t get them done.
A salesman with a bad attitude is unlikely to get any sales and that is not going to help improve his disposition so the goal of this post is to try and spew out as much of this crap as I can and push myself into that happier place I normally occupy.
I even wrote a post about putting it all in perspective here and for the most part I have, but there are moments when it is harder and yesterday set me off a bit. My grandfather cried because he is 91.5 and his ability to cope with stress is being beaten down by age and time.
His greatest fear is losing my grandmother or perhaps it is better to say that he fears dying first and leaving her. She is the same age as my grandfather and she is slowly beginning to lose it. There are little cracks in the dam, memory issues that used to be infrequent appear more often and she is showing some confusion about little things here and there.
I don’t think that she is all that bad, but I agree with my grandfather that she is not as sharp as she used to be and neither is he. Part of the problem is that he knows it, he feels the edges getting duller and he is frustrated because his memory has always been outstanding and now it is getting harder for him to remember some things.
Physical ailments are taking their toll and though you can remind him of his age and how lucky he is those reminders are having less and less of an impact. More and more I find myself in role reversal mode. I prop him up. I promise him that he has no reason to fear being homeless or hungry and I tell him that if he dies I will see that my grandmother is taken care of. I make the promise as his eldest grandchild because I know that using those words will resonate with him.
And then when he tells me that every now and then he feels like giving up I stop in my tracks and consider the best response. I pause so that I can think for a moment about what I can do/say to keep his spirits up and to try and see that my mother has a father to look to for a little bit longer.
On the flip side of the fence I see my dad’s father slowly fading. The final march approaches and I cannot do much other than to try and make it easy on him. It is more than 2 years since my grandmother died and I can see in his eyes that a piece of him is still gone and I feel his sadness.
The arms that held me as a baby and hugged me as a child have all become so frail. I have seen the the three of them argue with each other and I have seen them share the joy of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have held both of my grandfathers as they cried over the deaths of children, spouses and siblings. I have seen a lot and learned far more than I can share.
But I am not ready to let them go. I will not let them give up and I will use the various tricks I have learned over the years to keep their attention. And I see that my children spend as much time with them as possible.
It makes me very sad to think that my daughter may not have any memories of them, but I know that my son will and we will all take whatever time we get be it months, years or millenia.
All I want for them is a good quality of life and for them to feel happy. If I can help to provide that then I will. It is not so much to ask.