…if there was ever such a thing.
This topic has been at the forefront of my mind over the past few weeks. My boyfriend and I have each learned of the declining health in our respective grandparents. Long gone are the nights with bed time stories, midnight snacks, and movie marathons. Dark are the days that lie ahead with devastating phone calls, worrying parents, and sleepless nights. I know that we are just a few of the millions who are experiencing a situation each and every day.
Growing up sickness and death was something that I was able to cope with because it wasn’t happening in my immediate family. My mom worked for many assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Up until a few weeks ago I was still visiting clients and attempting to bring some light and hope into their lives. Now that it’s happening to me I feel a little hopeless, sick, hurt, and confused myself.
Like many grandmas, mine is lovely, caring, forgiving, and selfless. While I don’t want her to hurt or be in pain any longer I want her in my life. Over the past few days I’ve gotten calls and texts from my mom telling me that she has fallen, has somehow forgotten how to walk, or that she can barely hold a conversation. Thankfully, my grandma has lived with my mom for years and they are two peas in a pod. (We’re three peas, really.) The severity of her declining health didn’t hit me until today.
…it got real today. Hospice became a part of our lives. The more I read about hospice care the more worried I become. I was told it’s because she needs “more help” and someone who can always be there when my parents and brothers are away. Every day on the phone my grandma sounds like an independent woman. Every night my mom tells me otherwise.
Am I supposed to be thankful that these people are caring and educated individuals? Should my mind be put at ease knowing that they are helping her deal with her pain and “manage” it better? Am I being selfish for wanting her to fight harder? Does she even have the will to continue on this path? I am blessed to have each day with her and I am grateful to the medical professionals who have helped her along the way…but dang. This sucks.
Hospice claims that they are “end of life care” professionals that help the patient and their family during the dying process. Having them as an aid during this time allows the patient to receive care in their homes, if they so choose. While many times, hospice is only called in once a patient is given a 6 month window of life, sometimes they do exceed this window and far surpass it. If this is the window I am given, I am committed to giving my gran the best “end of life care” that I possibly can in any way that I can. That also provides her the dignity to die in her own home surrounded by her loved ones.
From diapers to doll babies to dance recitals and driving she’s been there through it all for me. I intend to do the same for her.