Family Sandwich

Oh little blog, how I’ve neglected you.  Not even a monday meal plan post this week.  I promise to make it up to you.  I love you and have been missing you.  I’m sorry for not writing.  I promise I’ll get back on track soon.  I’ll start today but I’ll warn you, the subject matter might get tough at times.

Today I took my daughter to visit my mom and my grandma.  My grandma lives with my mom and her health is…not good.  Ok let me stop sugar coating things as I tend to do.  She’s dying.  There.  I said it.  My grandma is in her eighties and her kidneys are failing have failed.  She has less than 5% functionality left at this point.  So this means that all the toxins in her body would pool and she would die if it weren’t for the three hour dialysis sessions she attends three days a week.  She also is pretty much blind.  And over the last few weeks, she’s been having severe back and hip pain.  Luckily my brother is a orthopedic surgeon and his wife is a Radiologist and they spotted a fracture that her primary care physician was unable to see.  Unfortunately there’s not much we can do to ease the pain.  It’s a tough situation for everyone.  It’s hard for my mom to see her suffer and it’s obviously tough on an old gal like my grandma to bear.  And what’s worse is that my grandmother’s mind is still sharp as a tack.  She recognizes our voices and remembers things that I forget sometimes.  She knows her body is failing her and is actually kind of pissed about it, I think.  Rough situation.

So I talk to my mom pretty often.  And I hear the strain in her voice as a result of the pressure she’s been under.  She can’t go off and enjoy anything; she hasn’t been on vacation for a long long time.  She is unable to even spend an afternoon shopping without worrying about her mom.  And when my grandma’s having a particularly rough day, I don’t hear from my mom at all.  That’s how I know it’s bad.  The part that kills me about it is that, like her mother, she has a hard time putting her burden on anyone else, especially me.  By the way, that trait may have been passed on to me too.  But I have this magic bullet that seems to help ease the pain for everyone, even if it’s for a little while.  Her name is Karina and she’s a little ray of sunshine.  So I go over there about once a week and it’s like there’s ]a cloud that blows away when Miss K. walks through the door.  My mom’s face lifts and my grandma finds the strength to sit up and move and on good days, walk out to see her.  The energy that she generates is simply amazing.  And baby LOVES going over there.  She laughs the whole time.  Today she walked to my grandma (who we call Ba)’s room and said “Ba!  Ba!  Ba!” and it made everyone happy.  And Karina smiled and waved to her.  I don’t know that my grandma could see it but I have to believe she could feel it.  Because the look of discomfort quickly changed to a smile.

A few weeks ago, before her back pain was so severe, all four of us were sitting at the table having lunch together.  The two caretakers (my mom and I) were sitting on the outside and my grandma and my baby sitting in between.  And as my mom fussed and made sure grandma was eating enough, I fussed and made sure Miss K. ate enough.  Mom asked Ba if she needed more water, I asked Miss K if she needed more water.  And interspersed was love and each of us finding ways to make the other three laugh.  It occurred to me that here we were, four generations of crazy girls taking care of each other and at some point, each of our roles flip.  My grandma once took care of my mom.  One day I’ll take care of her.  I’m taking care of my baby.  One day she may care for me.  It’s this beautiful family sandwich that we all have.  Sometimes you’re the meat, sometimes you’re the bread.  No matter what, it’s better when it’s together than when the pieces are apart.

So I’ll keep taking Miss K over there.  She recharges their batteries.  She gets to know some of her family members and gets a change of pace.  I can hopefully take some burden off my mom, as she’s done for me over and over and over again.

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