I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’ve had a few people tell me that they enjoy my Senior Moments posts (annoyingly linked throughout.)
If you know my grandma, you know I’m not making any of this stuff up, and many of the other residents have endeared themselves to me with their stories, their wisdom and their wit.
They really don’t get enough credit.
I’m there a couple times a week, and lord knows I wish each and every trip could be post-worthy. But the truth is, 99 times out of 100, there aren’t many funny moments that I can share. For every Bingo game or dating firing squad, there are 99 times I go there not knowing what the heck I’m walking into.
These are the senior moments I don’t often write or talk about, the senior moments in between.
My mom and I are past the days of having to go at this alone, past those nights of phone calls that sent us flying out of bed in a panic and the horrific stress of being thrust into caregiving roles were weren’t trained for, but that we quickly took on day to day.
When Gram moved to this facility a couple years ago, it was as if the weight of the world had been lifted from our crumbling shoulders. We were finally in the clear. It’s not perfect there, but she’s safe, she’s cared for and we can return to our roles as her girls.
That role is still rough though, as we never know just what we’re going to face.
Some days she’ll look me straight in the eyes and tell me about how she’s exhausted from running here or cooking this and that for a husband who has been gone for years. Looking at her in her wheelchair—where I know she’s been all day, all week, all year—I can see the confusion, the frustration, the genuine fogginess that hangs over so many there.
One day I’m called her sweetheart and a hero for brushing her hair. The next day she won’t get out of bed and will yell—and I mean yell—at anyone who comes to her side, nurses, aides or otherwise.
She’ll be mean, she’ll say things that she won’t remember but that I’ll never get to forget.
This is the case with so many there, so I’ve learned not to take it personally. But time passes on, as do many of our senior friends, and knowing this inevitability only slightly softens the blow.
You never get used to seeing an empty chair at dinner or the family members of other residents huddled and crying softly outside in the hallway, talking with nurses and struggling to come to terms with things before the final breath is drawn.
Again, you don’t get used to it, but you accept it.
So I apologize that this isn’t one of the funny(ish) posts, one of those that leaves you chuckling a bit with pictures of geriatric square dancing in wheelchairs or yard gnomes, but it’s also reality. It’s a reality that people face on a daily basis as they struggle to deal with the dementia, the Alzheimer’s or any other disease an aging loved one is suffering from.
These are the moments in between, and not to sound like a geek, but they are also “teaching moments.”
Because I learn something from every person I’ve met there, good or bad, and I wouldn’t trade any of the time that’s been spent with any of them. They have stories, they have wisdom, they have wit.
They really don’t get enough credit.
And those few senior moments—the funny ones I know I’ll never forget and those that I share with you here—make up for the ones that I keep to myself, the moments that are in between.
This post was based loosely on the Studio30 Plus prompt:
In the Clear
It was also based on the fact that it’s rough, and I thought you should know the other side in case you’re ever in a similar situation.
And I know it’s a bit of a divergence from drunk nuns and manic meteorologists , so if you’ve read this whole thing, I thank you.
For your reward I will publish the fork stabbing incident post soon—I promise—as that one’s too good to keep to myself. Plus, Gram might need an alibi if the authorities are called in to investigate.
Insecure disclaimer over. Carry on.
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