Let It Go! Let It Go!


Let It Go! Let It Go!

watering-can-63799_640We've been working some serious chores around the house lately. This makes Elly, my grandmother, feel inadequate. She doesn't have any experience with drip irrigation either. She loves control but doesn't have the energy to join us in the summer heat as we work on putting in a drip system for the flower beds. This is a good thing, really. We get the same questions, over and over, whenever we come into the house to use the bathroom or get something to drink. Sometimes we give straight answers, sometimes not so straight.

It is interesting to hear Elly speak about shopping as if she just recently stopped visiting the stores. It is so difficult for me to not correct Elly, maybe because I don't feel appreciated or maybe not even that, just that she doesn't recognize that I've been doing her shopping exclusively for the past six years and before that have been driving her to shop for more than 10!!

There are similar feelings when Elly talks about the stores in the area, restaurants she used to eat at and other landmarks. So much has changed in our area that Elly just has no idea. I try to drive her around when she has an appointment so she can see the changes - she reads about them in the newspaper but it doesn't seem to sink in. So, I work at letting go of "my rightness" and trying to educate or update Elly on what is going on. Even though she sees it, she doesn't let her brain accept it since she KNOWS everything! This is true when she watches TV without the sound on. She likes having the closed captioning on but still doesn't understand the reporting properly and will make inappropriate remarks, well, they are appropriate to how she is thinking. I don't usually correct her! Today the story was about the illegal children coming across the border from Mexico. Elly turned to me and said "I would just call up Mexico and tell them to come and get their children and take them home." Never mind the complexity that the children aren't from Mexico but I just didn't say anything.

Other "letting go" moments happen daily. AwesomeHubby and I can be sitting with Elly in her family room when she is ready to go to bed and it's as if we don't exist! She will toddle out to the kitchen, making sure the night lite is on, then opens the kitchen door to check the screen making sure it's locked then starts back toward the family room. As she passes through the family room, she'll turn off the ceiling fan, turn on the desk lamp (why??) and then turn off the ceiling fan/light where we are sitting. Before we changed the thermostat, she would turn off the A/C also; sometimes she still tries to figure it out.

Usually, she will lock the family room sliding doors and turn around and say good night to us as we swelter in the warm room. AH starts to say something and I get up and give Elly a hug goodnight and tell her to sleep well (giving AH "a look"). Some evenings I will tell her that we aren't done going outside and we'll make sure it's locked up. Other evenings, she tells us: "Make sure you turn off the fans and lock the doors." It makes us feel like children and not the responsible adults we are who have been living in our own home in a bad neighborhood for 20 years. It's just not personal, it's just a matter of "letting go" and let her do what she wants to do. I tell AH that we'll just turn everything back on and unlock the door once she goes into her hallway to her bedroom/bathroom and closes the door. It just doesn't really matter, does it! Let it Go!

I am not sure if anyone else gets as much mail as Elly does from "nonprofits." Every day there are several pieces of mail that come with pleas for money and then "we'll send you... ". I have been screening the mail for a couple of years now since I found that she would send $5 and $10 but leave a balance on her credit card which she uses for prescriptions. Today, there were two calendars in the mail with the usual, "Please help wildlife" or "Feed the Children". Since I was writing about "letting go" I gave my screening a second thought. Elly really enjoys having calendars. It's annoying to us because we are always saying "No, thanks" to her, but she wants to make sure we have a calendar or calendars whenever she has extras from the mail. We have no room for any more calendars since my ead makes and gives each of us one every Christmas! So, I "Let Go" and set her mail on her chair with the two calendars. She will be happy, maybe LivingRoomSon will take a calendar or two.

This being said about Letting Go, I still have the feelings of wanting to be noticed, be recognized, be right and be appreciated by my grandmother. I think I was created to feel that way but I won't let those feelings block out the understanding that Elly has some dementia, needs to have control, needs to keep her habits/patterns and isn't doing it to personally drive us crazy!

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I just loved reading this. I hope I can be so patient and kind!


You sound like a wonderfully patient person. It's important to them to have their 'routines' and it is great that you allow her to do so. My MIL also has her little bedtime routines. I am also learning it's not important to be right where she is concerned because it will not change her opinion.


Hey there, since mom moved in with us I stopped giving her junk mail as they wee nickle and dimes her to death. She loves getting the gifts that no one will ever used. I gave my niece who is an 2nd grad teacher and she can used the stuffs. And calendars if she had one she had thirty.

Donna Bates

I loved reading your article on \"Let it Go\". Life for our seniors is very similar. My mother-in-law locks the doors all the time. We live out in the country, no neighbors for a mile, and she locks the doors behind me when I am simply going out to water the lawn, check the mail, or take out the trash. I keep a key hanging in the tree so I can get back in. We get tons of non-profit mail as well. Some I have called and asked to be removed from the list, others I hand to her so she can see the pretty card or calendar, and yes, I get gifts from her too...a pencil, a book, and one sock. I receive them all with the love that she shares, say thank you and give her a hug.\r\nThank you for writing such familiar things. As all caregivers know, it feels good to know I am not the only one saying to myself \"Let it Go.\"