On a Monday back in June, my parents got a phone call about the health of one of my grandparents and it was not good. Instantly things changed. My grandparent had to have major surgery and spent over a month in and out of the hospital.
One of my parents, the child of this grandparent, stepped up to the plate and spent nearly every day at the hospital. When my grandparent was released from the hospital, all three times, both of my parents were there to provide around the clock care. Watching the worry on my parent’s faces as the family was taking things hour by hour is something that I had a different perspective on this time around.
It is heart-wrenching seeing your parent scared they might lose their parent. You see, this grandparent is currently 87 years old; however, they look and act like someone in their early 70s. They have always taken great care of themselves and take pride in the fact they were still living alone and driving everywhere at their age. This was a big change for everyone.
Seeing this happen as an adult with kids of my own is so much different. I have had other grandparents become ill, but I was young and it was before I had kids. This grandparent did not have their spouse there for them anymore. After my grandparent was released from the hospital for the final time, they moved in with my parents.
Taking care of an elderly relative who is ill is similar to taking care of a small child.
Everything must be done for them. My parent explained that they would fix food for my grandparent and my grandparent would complain that they didn’t want to eat vegetables, then there is the medication schedule, the doctor appointments, the paperwork. Oh, there is SO much paperwork! I could relate to that as I’m currently in the thick of caring for a two-year-old and four-year-old.
Caring for someone of any age is hard work.
The hardest part of watching all of this happen is that I know one day I will be in the shoes of my parent and being a caretaker again. It isn’t that I mind, because let’s face it, my parents gave me one of the best childhoods a kid could ask for; it is that I have realized that I am not ready to care for anyone else besides my children, my husband and myself.
I know that when the time comes for me to help my parents I will step up to the plate, like my parents did, and be there to help with anything and everything.
This whole experience has made me realize that life comes full circle. One day you are caring for your own kids, making them meals, helping them get dressed, playing taxi etc. and then before you know it, your kids are the ones doing the same thing for you.
I can only hope that my husband and I will raise our children in a way that when we need them most, they will not hesitate to come help us.