Instead of a feature today, I just want to get some things off my chest. I have a half-written post about Nacirema Society, but y’all know how I am–I have to have some inner inspired motivation to write in this here blog. Even despite my little ploy to get myself to write twice a week no matter what.
What’s on my mind today? Family. Love. Responsibility.
I dream of a day when I’ll be able to just help my loved ones when they need it. Remember when my granddaddy died and I said that I needed to step up? Well, stepping up ain’t so easy. I mean, really, who thought it’d be hard? Well, I guess I should have known. For goodness sake, I live 400 miles away. I see my mom struggling to help everyone, and I feel bad because I can’t be there to help her help everyone. My other granddaddy has Alzheimer’s and it’s more than a notion caring for him and making sure he’s safe and as healthy as he can be. Sometimes he thinks it’s the 80s, sometimes he can be a little sneaky, sometimes he can be a little aggressive, but all the time he needs someone to make sure his best interest is being considered. My mom feeds him everyday and really doesn’t get much thanks. And of course, when I got home last week I kinda felt some kinda way about it and didn’t want to visit. But of course, my mom is who she is and made sure I walked next door, and I softened as soon as my granddaddy said “Besides your hair, you sure are looking pretty!” (I think it’s funny–he’ll always be himself no matter what.) I had to be thankful that he can still recognize me and is still happy when I come home to visit. I just wish I could help distribute some of that caretaker’s burden.
I also went to see my great aunts who I usually do not make time to see, and I have no excuse for it. My Aunt Geneva is doing GREAT for her age and my Aunt Sweet had to blink her eyes and give me her suspicious stare before giving me her award-winning smile, and I immediately felt bad that I hadn’t been inside either of their houses in way too long although I have to drive past them any time I go to or leave my mom’s house. Houses I used to walk to just to be around them when I was a kid. I used to love sitting in my Aunt Sweet’s kitchen and watching her bake. I credit her for my little baking talents now. Why does the absent thing happen? I know I’m not the only one who has gone too long without checking on my elderly loved ones. I think there are several reasons. It’s hard to watch your loved ones get older and less spunky, less mobile, weaker. It also gets easier to keep focusing on the distractions–I’m sure the first time I didn’t make time to stop by, I felt awful, but as the visits passed and I still didn’t make time, the bad feelings went away. It also gets overwhelming to hear about family drama that you can’t do anything about.
But here are some reasons we should make time for the foundations of our families.
- They are so wise and full of information, knowledge, and inspiration. I feel rejuvenated after I spend time with my grandma. She loves to tell stories, and she gives advice that sometimes is masked in anecdotes. I guess, almost like Jesus and his parables, except as she’s giving me advice, she’s sharing our family history. I love to hear about her life experiences, how they are similar to or different than mine, and how she became who she is. You can’t beat an oral memoir. Besides that, I enjoy looking at her features and thinking about who looks like her, kinda like her, and imagining what I will look like as I get older.
- We should appreciate people while they’re around to feel appreciated. My grandma and I share a special crocheting relationship. I appreciate her for teaching me how, and she appreciates me for wanting to learn from her and carry on her talent. And now that my granddaddy is gone, she needs to know that she’s not alone. Of course, her kids and grandkids can’t replace her baby, whom she was with for 60 years, but we can still try to fill that gap with love. I’m so grateful that my cousins spend time with her and do for her.
- We kinda owe it to them. They may be a little feeble compared to the old days, but think about all they did before they went through a transformation of getting older. It has to be tough getting older, realizing that your hands don’t work the way they used to, seeing the wrinkles invade your space, having to take medicine more than ever before. But before that, they were ripping and running. Doing for us. Showing us the way. Working to provide a good life. They took care of us, so now we need to take care of them. Besides, we’ll miss them when they’re gone. I should know this especially. After all the family funerals I’ve been to, you would think I wouldn’t have to learn this lesson so often.
- The elderly are not aliens from outer space. Some people get really uncomfortable around older people, and sometimes I wonder how uncomfortable that makes the older person. They’re still people, just a little older. They still need companionship and human care and concern like er’body else.
I could talk more about abuses that I’ve read in the paper and online. But y’all know how dirty people can be and how some people target the elderly. All I will say is, please don’t be one of those awful people who take advantage of people. If you haven’t visited an older member of your family in awhile, I encourage you to do so soon. Maybe at Christmas or something. And if you don’t have a “Great” or a “Grand” in your life, consider going by a nursing home or assisted living facility and meet one. They’re treasures, and we should treat them as such.