Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Grandma Diaries

I know a lot of you have heard me complain about my grandma.  Please don't get me wrong....I love her dearly. Besides Faith, she is literally my ONLY close relative.  She's been a special person in my life since I was an infant, and we've always shared a very close relationship.

Her aging has destroyed her.  She has been in some form of dementia for the last couple of years, which causes her to be forgetful, given to bouts of anger and frustration, and has dropped her into a major depression.  She went from independent to the extreme to being nearly unable to do anything for herself.  Lately, she's gotten to where she can't even leave the house to get her mail, so we go over every day and get it for her.  Today, we took her recycling in and bought groceries for her.  On a daily basis, I shop, clean, pay bills, and do errands for her.  If I'm lucky, I get one day a week away from it.  And the phone calls.....according to our phone bill, we AVERAGED 2 1/2 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY on the phone.  Her life has been full of rich and amazing adventures, but I have heard each adventure at least 10 times.  Lately, she has totally turned into a crabby complainer....nobody can do anything right and nothing makes her happy.  And, since I'm in her line of fire, I get the bullets.  I've left her house in tears more times than I can count.

I look back 5, 10, 15 years and yearn for the relationship we used to have.  It was a balanced mix of her criticism and her love.  My father (who was never in my life) abandoned her and disappeared from her life, likely because of the way she treated him.  Even in the best of times, she's incredibly judgmental and manipulative.  She actually enjoys reminding me of the mistakes I've made (if I'm reminded again how I ruined everyone's lives by marrying my ex-husband, I may scream) and seems to purposely hurt my and Faith's feelings by making horrible comments about our appearance.  I knew what she was like when I was younger and I accepted it.  Now, with the helplessness thrown in, she's become RUTHLESS.

I view Facebook as something of a journal where I can express myself freely.....unfortunately, a few "friends" didn't feel that way.  When I vented about my frustration with grandma, I lost several of these "friends."  Before their departure, I was admonished for complaining.  I'm still a little pissed about don't live my life, you have no idea how hard this is.  I am trying to raise a teenager, deal with my own health issues, and take on the care of my beloved grandma who seems to have disappeared behind this frail, angry person.  I vent here so I can keep myself from exploding at her.

If you come away with anything from this entry, please let it be this - I love my grandma.  What I don't like is the disease that has robbed her of herself.  I would never abandon her or give up trying to be strong for her.  The only way I can do it is to let off steam now and then.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Peggi, I feel some of your pain. Can you hire someone to come every other day to keep your grandma company and do those necessary chores that you and Faith have been doing? I think Medicare will either provide that entirely, or at limited expense. It would be good to have someone other than yourself shoulder some of the burden. Hang in there. ((Hugs))

  2. You are definitely someone who can identify Lisa! I feel for you when I read your posts about frustration. I wish she would allow us to hire someone to come in, we tried that a while back and she went through 4 people in a month....she is so particular and so offended by the impingement on her independence that they didn't last more than a few days. I'm guessing that since I'm family, I'm not so bad :). I had a step-cousin visit from Wyoming this last summer - she stayed with grandma and I got the entire week off. It was then that I realized how committed I was to her care! Since then, my only days off have been when the 4 days Faith and I spent at the coast....and I spent the entire time worried and guilty that I had left her. She desperately needs to be in assisted living, but she just won't do it. We've toured every facility in our town, but she finds fault in all of them. I really wish there were an answer that she could live with!

  3. I understand your frustrations Peggi. I have been in this line of work for a long time,and I know how hard it is for the families that have to go through the same thing. I know that even if they do place thier loved one in the care of a facility they still go through guilt and frustrations. Deminta is a Bitch it steals your loved ones memories,independece, and it leaves thier families heartbroken and angry! It is easy to judge someone else. Anyone who knows you knows how much you love your grandma, and I know that will never change.

  4. I too feel some of your pain - I love my Yai Yai deeply, she took us in when all hell broke loose in the lives of myself and my sisters when my parents split and my father (who had custody of us passed away 2 years later. She was the one who raised us after raising 5 children of her own. However she is a very opinionated and judgmental person who likes to remind us (and others) of our past mistakes and she was the one who threw me out of the house the day before my 19th birthday with nothing more than the clothes on my back and a suitcase full of items listed for USAF basic training - I was supposed to ship out that day but failed my weigh in by 1 pound.

    I'll do anything in the world I can for her, she is family after all and despite it all I do love her, but there are times when she irritates the hell out of me. Fortunately for me and my sanity there are several relatives who live in town (aunts, uncles, elder sister, and several cousins) who are there for her as well and can also help spread the wealth as it were.


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