I’m Sorry, Grandma. Tomorrow Will Be Better.

Sunrise(Tonight, we welcome a new blogger, Denine. You can connect with her on her profile: @denine120.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

I felt resentful for the first time today.

Less than a month ago, I was performing onstage in the Dominican Republic with a Christian hip hop dance group before an audience of close to 1,000 people.

Today, I officially resigned from my missionary position and became the primary caregiver for my grandmother.

Do I know what I’m getting myself into? No. Do I have any experience or training with dementia, or senior care, or any health-related issues? No. Has my family ever talked about this possibility? Had it ever even crossed my mind that I would be the one to end up taking care of her? Never.

No one pressured me into do this. I did so by my own free will, willingly. In fact, I haven’t even told my mom that I resigned yet.

In a way, it makes it harder to deal with days like this, when I feel like I’ve failed her. I CHOSE to be here, trusting that God would give me the strength and wisdom to care for her. But today, I simply don’t feel like it. I don’t want to ask if she has to go to the bathroom, or explain why she needs to change her diaper, or remove her dentures. I don’t want to explain for the 50th time that I will not help her get more cigarettes.  Honestly, I don’t want to be in the same room with her.

And worst of all, I did not insist that she get up and eat before going to bed for the night, knowing that she hasn’t eaten since lunchtime. Although I passively asked if she was hungry (and lamely left a cookie and yogurt), I did not insist when she opted to stay in bed. That means she will go to sleep malnourished, and will wake up hungry and disoriented.

Is this how the cycle of neglect starts? If this is happening after three weeks, what will it be like after three months?

I’m scared. I truly am. Grateful, though, that I have my family who is being very supportive, encouraging and trusting. Grateful for the abundance of resources available to me. Grateful above all that God’s got my back, and showed me so clearly that I was supposed to be here.

So Grandma, I say to you tonight, the first time of what I’m sure will be many times: I’m sorry for not taking better care of you today. But I love you. And tomorrow will be better.

Avatar of Denine

About 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!

8 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, Grandma. Tomorrow Will Be Better.

  1. Avatar of SueSue

    Your awareness means that you will be a fine caregiver. Not always perfect (who is?) but just what is needed. I remember when my daughter was going through her phase of not eating and how guilty I would feel if I let her go to sleep at night without trying/forcing her to eat something more. Or when I get distracted and forget to give her her medicines…I always feel like the worst person. But, you get PLENTY of opportunities every.single.day. to give them care and you will do it well the majority of the time. Those few times when you take the easy way out or simply forget will be in the minority. If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t not be here writing about it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Avatar of Tre

    I find it a balancing act, that you have to take care of you too. I find the small things around me that make me happy…like the birds, bees, flowers and even the silence. When are parents, grandparents and loved ones become unable to take care of themselves…I find it is that one person, whom has been choosen to help them down this path. In your life as many on this site…roles change. I have looked around and asked the question? Where is anyone else to care for our mother? (She has six children.) It is meant and everything happens for a reason! LOVE is beyond words and WE become their strength. I just want you to know you are not alone. Many blessings ((((HUGS))))

  3. Avatar of DeniseDenise

    Hi Denine–First, I love that you are blogging! I’m grateful that you chose to share with us.

    And, second, this post just touched me. I love your vulnerability, your honesty. To me, your post screams courage–the courage to give yourself a chance to better tomorrow.

    I hope today will be better for both of you. Please let us know. :)

    P.S. I wrote about “Fail” a few weeks ago; perhaps this may help: http://www.caregiving.com/2013/07/fail/

  4. Avatar of PegiPegi

    Welcome Denine. I was very touched by your post. I agree it was painfully honest. Be gentle on yourself, this is a big adjustment. You are only human and bad days will happen. You will make today a better day, I can hear it in your sorrow. We are here to help anyway we can and of course to listen. You’ll find as time goes by you are stronger than you think; as you said God has your back. Give Grandma and extra hug and move on to a better day. God Bless you.

  5. Avatar of ChrisChris

    Tomorrow is always better than yesterday. The fact that you are honest with yourself is one of the best things and one of the hardest things of being a caregiver.

  6. Avatar of IlIl

    Ditto to all of the above. . . you are painfully honest and positive with yourself. . . sorry and tomorrow will be better shows that you will do so well with dementia . . .


  7. Avatar of DenineDenine Post author

    Wow, thanks so much for all the encouragement! I’m so grateful for this forum and to know that I’m not alone.

    Today WAS a much better day! My brother came for a few hours. He totally entered into our daily routine and loved on her while I got out for an hour. (Thrift store shopping!!)

    Love to you all!


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