Saturday, November 26, 2011


Two Thanksgivings ago I wrote this post about my grandparents. My grandfather was in a rehab facility and we took my grandma to visit him. I remember it fondly.

This year the tables are turned- my grandma is in the same rehab/nursing home and my grandpa is home.

My grandparents have seven children. Three don't live in our state, and quite honestly my grandparents don't talk to them very often. They probably don't even know my grandma is in the nursing home.

The other four- my mother, my aunt, and my two uncles- all live in the same town as my grandparents.

My grandparents also have a lot of grandchildren. I have lost count, but I know it's close to 20. Five of them still live in the same town I grew up in. (I don't, I live about an hour away).

Yesterday, after having Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house, my son, husband and I stopped over to see my grandpa and then went to the nursing home to see my grandma. My grandma had came home the day before to celebrate Thanksgiving with my grandpa, so I knew she would be at the nursing home. (We invited him to my parents house, but he declined).

Still, I was heartbroken when I went to see them- my grandpa was alone the entire day. No one came to see him, no one called. Same for my grandma. When we went to see her she was so happy. But, the first thing she said to me was, "Where is everyone?".

My mom was busy cooking dinner, my aunt and one uncle had to work, my other uncle busy with his family. I realize people get caught up in life. I know how it goes. But really, no one could pick up the fricking phone? Couldn't take five minutes out of their day to tell their elderly parents/grandparents Happy Thanksgiving? Especially knowing the physical condition they are in and that this could very well be their last on this earth.

My husband's family is far from close. But after his dad died a day never went by that someone wasn't calling or visiting my mother in law. Someone was always visiting or calling her. Even towards the end of her life, when a broken hip forced us to make the horrible decision to put her in a nursing home. Even though none of us lived closer than an hour away, she had a visitor every day. Even if it was only for twenty minutes. Even if she didn't know we were there. We still were.

Maybe it's because I took care of my mother in law for the last year and a half of her life. Maybe it's because I know that one day you will regret how frustrated you became taking care of them. Maybe it's because I've been there that I can look at my grandparent's now and realize that one day their children and grandchildren are going to regret what they are doing to them. It seems like an inconvenience now, but one day you will long for it with a broken heart...

Why is it that it's only after someone is gone that we truly appreciate them?

My grandparents are far from perfect. But they don't deserve to spend the holidays alone.

Your children will treat you the way you treat your parents. 

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year-old grandson.  The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table but the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult.  Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.  When he grasped the glass milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became unhappy with the mess.  “We must do something about Grandfather,” said the son. “I don’t like this spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.”

The husband and wife then set a small table in the corner.  There Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dining-table.  Since Grandfather had broken a plate or two his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction they noticed he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.  One evening, before supper, the father noticed his son playing with his wooden blocks - especially the curved ones.  He asked the child sweetly, “What ARE you making?”

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.”  The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Tears then started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family and for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or the tablecloth soiled.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I had to write a paper in one of my classes that had to include my personal thoughts and experiences. I struggled with this paper because I knew what I wanted to write, but I didn't want to write it. I was afraid that if I wrote about my losing Brenna and the physical and emotional recovery that I endured that I would get a "pity" grade. Oh, poor girl, how can I give her an E when she just wrote about losing her child and nearly dying. I wanted to make sure that I earned the grade.

I tried to write the paper and leave that part out, but it just didn't work. It was flat and unauthentic.  How do you write about your life and leave out the most defining moment of it?

You can't.

I ended up writing it the way I wanted. It was personal and passionate and I knew it was a good paper.

I got an A.

In fact, I received the highest grade in the class.

My teacher gave me a gift for getting the highest grade, which I thought was very nice. He pointed out that I made points (beside my loss) that no one else had ever done in any of his classes. He was impressed with my way of thinking and said he enjoyed my paper. But I can't help but feel like I didn't really earn that grade. I sort of feel like a cheater. Like I pulled the pity card to get a good grade. It feels like an empty victory.

Am I a cheater? What would you have done?