This is the post I've been dreading. Like the situation I’m in, I've put it off, and put it off some more. I’m embarrassed, and I’m ashamed of what I've done, or rather what I haven’t done.
In the last six months, I have only seen my grandmother twice. After seeing her several times a week for so many years, it was easy to find a reason not to go. She had finally adjusted to living in her assisted living facility and she no longer needed my care. The laundry list of excuses looks something like this:
• I am so tired when I get home from working all day
• I still have to get dinner made
• One of the kids has an activity
• We are remodeling our basement
• There is yard work to do
• It’s too difficult to keep the kids quiet and contained at Grandma’s
• The kids are being cranky
• I’m cranky
They are all just excuses. There is no good reason we haven’t been to see her. It has been selfish me coddling my emotions at the expense of hers. She may not have needed my care, but she needed me – to see me, to connect with me.
Emotionally it is just plain hard to see her. This once vibrant and independent woman now only carries on about five conversations and is relegated to a scooter that leaves marks and gouges along walls and furniture in her path. She talks about going to work each day – something she hasn't done in 15 years. Her hearing is so far gone, it requires us to shout. I am completely drained emotionally after visiting, and it leaves me a cranky, emotional wreck.
It is heartbreaking. That is what got me on this road of avoidance. One week turned to two, which turned into a month, and then a couple more months. And now here I am, terrified she is angry with me. Heck, I’m angry with me. I am sad that I have let this go on so long. I feel like I have let her down.
So now I must fix this. I have to set my emotions aside and focus on Grandma’s. Sure I’m sad and heartbroken, but I have the option of not seeing it; she sees it and feels it every day. I feel over-extended and can find little excuses to not stop by; she wishes she had something more to do – a purpose - and is looking for any excuse to feel needed.
I am going put away my shame and embarrassment and go see Grandma. I may be tired, but I’ll grab my cranky kids who need a bath, hit a drive-through and let them have a picnic in Grandma’s apartment. I will put away my expectations of having a “perfect” visit, and just visit. I’m just going to do it. Because facing my embarrassment and shame now is far better than never having the opportunity to.
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