Tonight I saw my mom and grandma bond in a way I had never expected.
My mom has taken care of her mom for the past 40 years, and she is now 62. My grandmother has schizophrenia, along with other health problems, but it’s the schizophrenia that keeps her from being able to work and live alone. There was a short period where my grandmother lived in a small home, but that was 25 years ago when my parents could afford it.
It has been rough for my mom, and I have heard all too often the complaining about my grandmother’s annoying habits, and I can see the stress of having to find someone to take care of her so my mom and dad can go out of town for a couple of days. Don’t even mention the financial burden of all the medications my grandma is on.
BUT… my grandma has been in the hospital twice in the past six months for what “they” termed a COPD exacerbation. She fell, she was out of it and loopy for a couple days, hemodynamically unstable, and then she was fine. The point is, she is no longer safe at home alone. She forgets her walker and forgets to put on her oxygen all too often.
My mom finally got her care covered and found her a nice place to live, but when it came down to telling her, she broke. My mom is a tiny, firy woman. She is too stoic for her own good, but yesterday she called and told me that Grandma is going to the home on Friday (day after Thanksgiving), that she wanted to tell her sooner than later to give it time to sink in, and that she just didn’t know how to tell her. My mom does NOT ask for help, so when she was on the phone, vulnerable and tearing up, I knew she needed me.
We all had dinner and wine, and my mom started off with, “Mom, you want a drink?!” How could she say NO? After a few sips, my mom finally jumped in and started, and I was in the other room not realizing she had already gone in. She was tired of thinking about it, honestly. My dad said, “you might want to go in there now. It’s good practice for when you have to put us in a home.” He was only half-kidding. Wine in hand, I ventured into my grandma’s room.
Well, my mom explained everything, and at first my grandmother looked perplexed, but she kind of always has that look on her face, and then my mom cried, saying she didn’t want to do this, but she doesn’t have a choice, and my grandmother replied with, ” Oh honey, please don’t cry.” This cut to the heart, as I had never really seen much emotion from my grandma, and certainly not motherly emotion toward my mom. I finally, after 35 years of life, saw my grandma being a mom to my mom, and it was beautiful, yet heart-wrenching at the same time. Finally, my mom got up and went over to hug her, and to see them hold each other’s heads close, cry, and kiss each other, meant the world to me. I have not often seen my mom vulnerable, and it was beautiful to finally see the tenderness and love in their relationship.
I joked, once all the tears had passed and we all sat drinking our booze and wine, that we were three generations of boozers… planning on a shopping trip on Wednesday to get Grandma new clothes for the move to her fancy new home on Friday…. and let’s not forget that Grandma gets weekly visits to the salon… and she will be right next to Flying Star, so I can take her for dessert and ogle the firemen there. :0)
We all chortled, my mother teary and sucking down the wine, my grandmother laughing and teeth falling out, and me with my wine in my left hand and my right arm wrapped around my mom’s shoulders. It’s gonna be a good week.