May 1, 2018
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
I just re-read my March 1st / birthday month post & it was very upbeat & full of fun & plans. Some of them came to fruition & some did not, but March was a good month. The weather can be frustrating, but that's something we have NO control over isn't it?
Another thing I have no control over is life & death. I went to visit my Grams this past weekend. She is 97 & currently in a nursing home recovering from a fall which led to a broken femur (at the top in the hip) which led to a partial hip replacement. Grams also has dementia which means she doesn't remember where she is or why or that she can't walk by herself or most other things. By the Grace which none of us deserve, she still remembers her family members. It is likely that my Grams will never leave the nursing home & quite frankly it is breaking my heart. She always seemed so strong -- so invincible. Watching Alzheimer's/dementia take over her mind has been difficult enough but watching her body fail her part by part is just wrenching.
Are there take aways from this? Oh of course there are. And all of the negative ones just JUMPED into my mind & I refuse to give those any lip-service. My Grams lived for others. She wasn't an unselfish person so she had her reasons. If I had to guess I would say that initially she was guarding her heart so she wouldn't get hurt. But that guard became a habit & she didn't really let anyone IN not all the way. She had been hurt in life & wasn't taking any chances.
My take away is of course to live for ME. As a mother & as a grand-daughter, this one is hard. You're always sacrificing & doing for others & forgetting to take care of yourself. But as the wonderful meme says, You can't pout from an empty cup. Believe it. It's true. Or as the airlines say "Put your mask on before helping others." If you're "not breathing" you absolutely can't help anyone else.
My other take-away is to be vulnerable. If you've never heard her before or read her, PLEASE read or listen to Brene Brown (TED talks/You Tube). Her pieces on vulnerability are AMAZING!!! Yes, being vulnerable takes us to places where we might get hurt. But we also may experience unspeakable joy, make amazing friendships, have beautiful experiences. I think my Grams had good intentions. She wanted to be safe. Instead, she ended up locking herself away like Rapunzel & expecting others to let her down from the castle walls. But even those who tried found she had built up too many walls of her own to ever truly escape.
My last take away is to embrace differences. My Grams is 97. The world she grew up in & came of age in & even raised her children is was MUCH different from today's world. What Grams didn't understand made her MORE afraid. I was always pushing the envelope...moving my boundaries out farther & farther. I made her uncomfortable. I was loud. I talked too loud. I laughed too loud. I wasn't afraid to be wrong. My body was the wrong shape. It was definitely the wrong size. Couldn't I be more HER & less ME. Fortunately, that was a lesson I never learned. I am unabashedly ME. For better or worse. My Grams always LOVED me but she also always wanted to CHANGE me. Until her death, my Mom was a mediator encouraging me to be me. After her death I had to learn how to navigate Grams on my own. I did pretty well. We found an unspoken truce. In my heart of hearts, I will always wish that she LIKED me but at this point I'm happy with what I had.
Life lessons 101. Lessons from Grams.