Tuesday, July 5, 2016
What does it take!?
Last week we took my aunt for her first paddling lesson. We were so excited to be able to share this with her because we knew that she could benefit in so many ways if she liked it. She not only is a caregiver for Grandma but I think she takes on a lot with her mother in law and there has been a lot of stress at her job.
She did really well. She lucked out and had much better conditions than we had a few days prior with my friend. We got to a shallow part and she switched boards with the Mr to a bigger board that was more stable. She stayed on it a while and I could tell that while we were gabbing she was losing focus and at this point if she went in, it was going to be a long kick back to shore. I told her to let us know if she wanted to kayak and she said she was about to that point. So we hooked up the seat and she got down and we paddled for a while longer. She did really well and was talking about how she could finagle getting one for herself because it was so peaceful. Even if she doesn't, we made it clear she could come out any time with us.
I had prepared a dinner that I heated up and wrapped in foil and used some of those casserole hot pads to keep warm. So when it was done, we had a picnic on a blanket by where we docked. While we were on the water, she did talk about her frustration with my Grandma's husband and his being cheap where her care was concerned. You guys know I am always very careful voicing my opinions on that subject now so I just listened. I guess even her son kind of voiced his frustration with him after being called over to help get her into bed when she was on the floor and couldn't be lifted into bed. I just kind of shook my head agreeing and I also told her I outlined to him how Grandma's care could basically be free due to some financial stuff that happens yearly and he was appalled that it wasn't being done. It sounded like she was at the end of her rope with patience with Grandma's husband. So it was nice to give her a night away from thinking about all of that crap.
We stayed until sunset and on the way home, we stopped at a store then came home and unloaded our vast amount of crap that comes with taking three vessels out, got things situated and headed straight for a shower because the water was particularly gross. (I don't even want to think about all the crap that stuck to her when she went overboard! HA! I just hope she closed her mouth when she went in.) We come out to a message from my panicked mother (who can barely walk herself) that grandma is on the floor, won't get up and she and Grandma's husband can't get her into bed and can the Mr come over and help lift her? If they don't hear from him, they'll call 911.
Okay, so the people taking care of her on this night of the week are two people whose knees are shot to hell and have no way to physically move her. Then if they can't, the Mr, who can't even lift 15 lbs over his head during a strength workout is expected to lift 90-100 lbs (IF the two others are lifting half of Grandma's weight) of dead weight!?!??! Of course the Mr said he was going to do it and called since it had been 15-20 minutes. So he called and did they call 911? No. They called my aunt when she was 3 minutes from home.
My blood BOILED.
So I finally just let it rip on (virtual) paper to my aunt. I've never really discussed my stance on this with her so I guess I took her frustration as a cue that maybe I could at least say my peace on the matter. I told her while the Mr doesn't mind helping when he can, we just cannot risk not only his own health with his injury lifting dead weight but risk hurting her as well. Thankfully a good friend proofread what I was going to send and pointed that out and I didn't even think about my God, what if he or ANY of us dropped or hurt her? We wouldn't be able to live with ourselves! I recounted to her the many times we had to put up with her husband basically mocking her in the beginning by talking about her like she wasn't there. She would know what he was saying and sometimes she would yell at him for trying to make her look like a fool. It was something that got on all of our nerves but no one ever said anything. We'd all say "we KNOW" and make it very clear that it was fine if she repeated herself but he just had to keep playing some kind of martyr and remind us all of what he had to listen to all day. I told her that is one of the reasons I cannot and will not be in the same room with him anymore and if I ever confronted him on it, he'd probably try to have me banned from the funeral. I told her of a conversation we had with Grandma and her husband about a year before she was diagnosed and how she expected that the money they have in the bank would be used for either of them in their old age if they got sick. He tried to dismiss her but she made it very clear, in her very Grandma way, that no, that is what it was there for first and foremost. I told her I felt like she needed to know that and how Grandma expected that money to be spent. This aunt is the one that Grandma's husband listens to/respects the most so I don't know what I expected but maybe if she puts her foot down, he'll finally listen. I don't know.
All I know is I put it out there. I kind of called it "Grandma's Last Stand" in my head because it's the last thing I can do to not just put in my two cents on my feelings for him so they know why I'm not eager to spend time in his company anymore but to say "this shit is ridiculous and she expected more!" I made it very clear I was in NO WAY criticizing the way she or my mom were caring for her because I know they aren't considered primary decision makers for her and thanked her for being in the trenches but I felt like she needed to know.
The response I got was not angry at all but firm in the belief that she is not on board with a facility and will continue to push for as much in home care as they can possibly get him to agree to. A facility will only come into play when she 'gets bad enough.' I should forgive him because he's "family." Last time I checked, you don't choose money over your spouse in a time where she needs it most. It was implied I should be helping and "roll with it." You know what? I said my peace and I'm washing my hands of it. I am not telling her that Grandma asked me not to be around her anymore if she ever got to the point of not knowing who I was and to give her some dignity. I will only do that if there is some confrontation and I pray it doesn't get to that because I just don't have it in me. If I look in my heart and mind, my conscience is clear. I have tried to advocate for Grandma only to get shot down at every turn in her decline like I'm some kind of monster. Those suggestions were only made because of a book they told us to read! So I kind of thought that was the 'rule book' we were following. I guess not, despite all of it making perfect sense.
If everyone gets pissy that I am not planning to enable her husband to continue to be blind to the care she needs, then that is their issue, not mine. I'm givin' it up to God because I can't take it anymore. I believe a promise made to a Grandma who was scared to death of what awaited her even though she was in denial of her situation is way more important than if I was disowned by the rest of my family. I feel that strongly in my loyalty to her. I've asked God, and spiritually Grandma, for forgiveness if I'm making the wrong choices but we all have our own feelings and perception of the situation and as we all know, perception is reality. I said a prayer that whatever is done going forward is done in clarity and for her best interest to those involved. I asked to continue to have a clear head where our differences are concerned and to not hold issue against those who are actually trying to do right by her because in the end we all feel the way we do out of love for her. Well, most of us.
So to any of you going through this miserable, ravaging, effed up disease that aren't on the same page with family...hold strong. Advocate for the person in the best way you know how, even if it isn't what others think you should be saying or doing. Try to keep forgiveness in your heart for those who truly deserve it and disagree with you. When others tell you that you should forgive what you consider the unforgivable...make a promise to one day accept that they made their decisions and now they have to live with them, just as you do with yours. If you don't buy into the "forgiveness is for yourself" crap, then don't but don't let that hatred consume you if you can help it. Have faith that somehow karma and whatever you believe in will eventually take care of things. Remember the good times with the person. Don't allow this disease to rob you of those memories too because that person has already had theirs robbed from them. Find someone you can rely on when the times get tough and overwhelming. Find a person who might know about the situation but isn't so close to it that they can still give you objective advice with a kind ear (or eyes). Try to remember there is no right way to get through this and how you react may not be how others will and you have to accept that. It's not necessarily wrong, its just different...and that's okay, even if it doesn't feel like it to you.
So I go forward. Apologetic to the Mr for keeping him up until 1:30am the night I got her response with a physical reaction that took 30 minutes to calm and a mental one that took 45 minutes to calm. Apologetic to Grandma in giving all I am capable of giving, even if it is only a promise because she understood something about me that few people in my family know about or care enough to remember. I'll share that with you tomorrow.
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