Tag Archives: grandparents

Small Town Life – An Old Dog

I hear the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” used in reference to humans alot. I just want to put it out there that we are not dogs. Humans are humans! Therefore, no matter how old we are we should be capable of learning new tricks.

My grandmother was gifted an iPad by her children (who I was amazed were using iPads themselves as they are in their 60’s and rather resistant to technology). At first she hated it. I just wasn’t working well for her. Touch screens take some getting used to and well, it’s not fun to get used to them. I, myself, was a little nervous about my first touch screen device.Can-you-teach-your-old-dog-new-tricks-on-an-Apple-iPad

However, after many months of just keeping at it (mostly because her grandson was on the computer so much), grandma got the hang of the iPad and now spends a significant amount of her time using it for the various functions it’s good for. She peruses Facebook, keeping up with her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids (no doubt reading this very post). She maintains a Netflix account and does online banking. (She also golfs almost daily.)

When she first started doing adult things like paying bills, she was writing personal checks and keeping accounts in a ledger. Now she’s using her iPad for all of that old stuff she used to do. She’s in her 80s. Now, I would never presume to call her old but I will say that she learned a new trick and I hope to stay that open minded. I want to always learn new tricks and never have it said of my that I’m an old dog.98

Small Town Life – That soon after…

Before this spring, I had never lost a close blood relative. I’ve lost a few married in aunts or uncles or great-grandparents but I had never lost a grandparent, parent, sibling or blood uncle or aunt. 10390152_10201961948915249_5587956195571053357_nThis spring, my grandfather died. And like in so many cases of long lasting love, my grandmother had a stroke not 2 months after he was in the ground – and on Mother’s Day no less. I came right away and although she was still living, she was in a vegetative state and I don’t know if she knew I was in the room or not. I talked to her, showed her the new baby, cried and then… well, what more could I do accept support my mother and uncles. If their reactions to her state and eventual death are any indication, she was a great mother. I have had 35 years to know this but their mourning was such a reminder of what a great person she was.

Death comes unexpectedly.

375664_3680694093333_683736386_nWhen I got here to the house, I got out of the car and was overwhelmed by the smell that reminded me of my grandfather, his lawnmower and his cars that were in pristine condition.

Grandma’s laundry was still in the drier. I folded it and put in her drawers.

Her kids had each sent her a Mother’s Day flower arrangement and they were still on the counters of her kitchen. She only got to enjoy them for mere hours before she collapsed from the stroke and never again opened her eyes to see anything around her.

Dad and I were deciding what to make for dinner and found food that needed to be thrown out but he didn’t want to because “It’s Mom’s kitchen.” But Dad, she’s not coming back to clean it out. Just throw it. What will she care? We are the ones eating out of this fridge and cooking in this kitchen. But it’s so strange to think that because she was here less than 24 hours ago assuming she would be the one cooking and now, she will never come back to this food she bought.

Her computer was littered with sticky notes in her handwriting indicating logins and passwords for the accounts she had set up after grandpa couldn’t pay bills anymore.

Her purse was still out ready to go to the store.

Her cell phone was plugged in on the counter and it went off every few hours with Facebook alerts, news bulletins and messages from people who didn’t know her condition.

The house phone rang and I answered it. It was pest control. I was amazed that life could go on when she was in the hospital – dying. The pest control lady didn’t know but shouldn’t the whole world go on hold while grandma took her last breaths?10346211_10202538507801317_3230551687894962794_n

But it doesn’t.

That’s what I learned.

No matter how good or bad a person you were in life, your passing will not stop earth from turning. Family will mourn you and your life will have had an effect on everyone – good or bad. Family will sit by your bedside and hang on every breath – hoping that you will get better or just die because they can’t take seeing you suffer. The guilt of hoping for a swift death will weigh on everyone – no matter their connection to you.

But the world goes on no matter what. I keep on doing the laundry here at her house. My mom and uncle water the plants. We fill the refrigerator and continue to use grandma’s house while we plan a memorial service and wait by her bedside for her to die or get better.

And then… she’s gone. And she’s not coming back here to this house. She will never sit in her rose garden again and she will never watch Jeopardy and mumble the answers under her breath. But we will remember all this about her – and talk about it someday without weeping – and live our lives because… what else can we do?

10171858_10202457639459659_4574457868474184190_n*all images came from her facebook page

When It All Slows Down

I work with alot of geriatrics in the store. I hear them saying many times, “What kind of parent would I be to put the burden of my care on my children? I can’t ask them for help. They have their own lives and I don’t want to drag them down.”

The better question is, “What kind of parent have you been that your children want to help you, be there for you, care for you?” Your children are dying for you to ask for help. They have been helped all their lives by you and when you are the kind of parent that teaches your children to be grateful, contributing members of society, their natural reaction to you needing them is going to be nothing short of awesome. They are excited to finally be able to do something for the ones that did so much for them. Most likely, they have been planning for the day when you finally slow down and can spend quality time with them. If they are close to retirement themselves or are already able to significant amounts of time at home, they are excited that they can do things with you they always wanted.

You don’t know how many “kids” I have coming into the store asking how they can make a trip to Hawaii more comfortable for Mom or a trip to DC to see the memorials easier for Dad. Enjoy that time with your kids. They want to enjoy it with you!

Farm House

I have a recently found a love of farm houses. My grandparents had one in New Hampshire and my siblings and I would spend a few weeks a summer up there visiting. We would swim in the pond, climb to the top of Mt Blue Job, and my favorite was picking blue berries. However, the property is long gone and all I have left is memories. Taking pictures of farm houses will always take me back to pleasant memories.

What fond memories do you get while taking pictures?