Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hanging Out With Grandma

My dad went to New Jersey to visit his parents today and took my brother along, which means I drew the short straw in helping my mom watch her mother, my grandmother. I have blogged previously about what this entails. During the school year, I spend on average about 15-20 hours per weekend with mom and grandma while my dad is working his second job (so my brother can finish college).

When this routine started around the spring of 2008, I did not like it at all. I felt guilty about those feelings and decried my own selfishness, but now, I possess mostly a grim resolve: grandma won't be around forever, but I need to do what I can to help especially my mom, who has had to bear the brunt of everything that happens. I only need to deal with the weekends. It isn't all fun and games, although I can get stuff done here that I would never get done at home. It does take away time that I would spend with the wife, but fortunately for me, she is the understanding and sympathetic type, and has pitched in helping mom when necessary as well.

I have to say that the one thing I have learned in being a caretaker is that I now know what it means to give 'dignity' to the elderly, especially when they cannot help themselves very well. When grandma was in a rehab center after a hospital stay, dignity was not among the watchwords of the facility. She cried every day saying she wanted to die, because of the piss-poor treatment and 'care'. People, no matter their age or condition are still human beings made in the image and likeness of God; ergo, they should be treated as such. Not numbers, not statistics, not things, and certainly not as stray animals. Remember this if anyone in your family (or even you) becomes what some would consider a 'burden' - they are people, they need your love and care.


Paula said...

You forget that your wife also helps out during the school year.

Joshua Lattanzi said...

See the end of the 2nd paragraph. I give credit where credit is due!