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Fighting Fair

door_line_artFighting Fair

(when one side doesn’t always remember what you’re fighting about)

My grandma hurt my feelings last night.

I never imagined I’d have to ask my grandma, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Neither did she. It didn’t go over too well.

“I don’t need to go!” she barked at me. Taking a deep breath, I explained that she was having a harder time these days with her bladder, and would she please try. She resentfully shuffled into the bathroom, muttering, “I’m going back into the hospital where they treat me right!” Then she shut the door.

First I was shocked. Then angry. (I’M the one who has to change her sheets!) Then amused. I thought about letting it go. I know Grandma, I rationalized, and she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. And if I talked to her, she probably wouldn’t remember the comment anyway.

But then I thought about my commitment to respecting my Grandma and treating her like an adult (even when her health needs made her as dependent as a baby). That means speaking the truth in love.

A few minutes later, I came into her room and helped her get settled into bed. “Grandma, I know that this is hard for you, but it’s not so easy for me either.” I reminded her of the comment and asked if she remembered. She sheepishly replied, “I did say that, didn’t I?” I told her that we were a team and that we needed to work together to make sure she was well. But I made it clear that wouldn’t accept that kind of treatment. Finally, I laid my head down next to her, and said, “Now please rub my head.” She laughed, and paid her head-rubbing penance.

Did she remember our conversation from last night? Probably not. But I do, and resolving the conflict helped me be open and loving to her today.

I realize that I won’t always be able to have these conversations with Grandma. But I feel like we’re building memories that will help us get through the harder days down the line.

About Denine

Profile photo of Denine
I take care of my super-sweet, always feisty grandmother. Her early stage dementia doesn't stop her from commenting, "Are you still eating??" after hearing me sneak my third piece of cake, or being concerned about the tummy-ache that I had the night before. I love hip hop dancing, pistachio ice cream, and Jesus. Yup...that's me!

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  1. Profile photo of ejourneys

    I love this, Denine. What a wonderful combination of love and gentle discipline, in a way that benefits you both.

  2. That was fantastic! A great balance to strike while those opportunities exist. I would have resorted to making faces at the bathroom door. :)

    • Profile photo of Il

      Sometimes I do this too Heather . . sometimes I do what Denine did. il

      • Profile photo of Denine

        Yup, I go back and forth between the two as well!

  3. Profile photo of Denise

    Hi Denine–What a wonderful way to handle this situation. I love this insight: “That means speaking the truth in love.”

    Perfect, just perfect. :)

  4. Profile photo of Il

    Amen to all of the above, Denine . . il

  5. Profile photo of Pegi

    @Denise beat me to it “speaking the truth in love” so caught me, I actually highlighted to put into my reply. You were so kind and gentle in a situation that makes her so uncomfortable. What a nice reward, your head rub! I’m so glad you’re buildings memories that will last you a lifetime. They will be so precious to you later. Soldier on, you’re doing great!

  6. Profile photo of

    You are such a great writer. All my love to you and your family. Keep up the great work.

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