Tag Archives: serious

Senior Moments: The Ones In Between

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.

Need a holiday gift that gives back? Buy the Book. Save a Kitten.

Where Were You When…?

This is one of those times when writing about my neurotic obsession with the OveGlove or how I spent 10 minutes trying to delete a comma off my computer screen before realizing it was a speck of dust doesn’t make any sense (not that it would make sense normally, but you get my gist.)

This is one of those times when perspective is key.

This is one of those posts that I’m not sure I should write, as no matter what I say, I feel like my words will fall short of anything and everything else that’s being published on the topic.

But this is my memory of September 11, 2001. The only reason I’m publishing this is because I can, because we all have a “where were you when” story to tell, and thank god, we’re all still here to tell it.

————

I was not in Washington or New York, but rather on my way to class in Michigan. A college student still living at home, my focus was on all the things I should do, and of course, all the things I should be.

At that point in time it was all about me, not selfishly, but in the way that we’re told it should be. Study for this, work over there, network with them — but leave time for fun! — study some more, plan out your life and then watch it all change, either slowly after several years or in a flash before your eyes.

My routine commute on that day took a twist as I made my way into my Shakespeare class, where literary analysis and dissection of prose was soon pushed aside for the news, the scattered bits and pieces of info that nobody knew how to piece together quite yet.

There were airplanes. There were fires.

There was confusion. There was fear.

There were 25 college students—young, relatively ignorant to the evil of the world—huddled together outside in the campus Shakespeare garden with one radio and millions of questions. Hanging on to every static-ridden word, we tried to use our education to make sense of something that 10 years later, we are all still struggling to make sense of.

Although excused for the day, we all hung around—hundreds of us—calling our families and watching the TVs set up in auditoriums, craving a sense of community from those we might otherwise never have uttered a word.

The details from there are unclear, as the gravity of the situation did not pull us down until later, until what we were privy to know would be plastered in our minds and our memories from then until now.

But I remember eating my lunch outside before going home — there was cantaloupe — and the chaotic news reports still filtering in as I sat there, digesting my food and the weight of it all in the best way my 20-year old mind would allow.

My phone rang.

I assured my mom I was on my way home, a place that I’d left just hours before like I did every day of the week.

Like so many people had done on that morning that wouldn’t be going back home.

————

This is one of those posts that I’m not sure I should publish, as I wasn’t there on that day. I wasn’t privy to first hand accounts and the horror that so many had, that so many still have today.

But this is my memory of September 11, 2001. The only reason I’m publishing this is because I can, because we all have a “where were you when” story to tell, and thank god, we’re all still here to tell it.

I’ll be back to neurotic stories and “issues” next post, but for today, I remain humble, I remain grateful, I remember.