Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Caution: Long Post Ahead

Making the decision to move Grandpa into a care center was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I felt like a little girl having to make grown up decisions, and I didn't like it.

Before my parents moved to Brazil they made sure everything was taken care of here.

Someone to watch their house - check.
Someone to pay their bills - check.
Someone (or many someones) to run their business - check.
Turn Grandpa's legal power of attorney over to Noelle - check.

I wasn't concerned with the shift of responsibilities...not at first. I had been helping to take care of the daily ins and outs of Grandpa's life for years.

But when Grandpa's health and mental state took a turn for the worse I knew I was in trouble.

Initially I made an emotional plea to Grandpa's Bishop, asking for help. And help came, in abundance. Grandpa's neighbors arranged meals and visits and phone calls, and they were my lifeline. If I had my whole life to thank them, it wouldn't be enough.

Before too long, even that help wasn't enough...and I knew it. A meeting was called, an intervention of sorts. Present at the meeting were: the Relief Society president, the compassionate service leader, a Hospice nurse, a grief counselor from Hospice, my sister and myself. My aunt was sitting with Grandpa in his bedroom. (Yes, there was an aunt. And if you're wondering why she wasn't making the decisions, don't. It would never have happened.)

I remember one thing clearly from that meeting. The Hospice nurse looked at me and said, "Sweetheart, you will be no good to your grandpa if you're in a hospital as well." And with that I agreed to move him. The Hospice nurse called and arranged the details and informed me that Medicare would only pay up to so many days in the care center. After that it was up to me to arrange funding for his stay at the care center.

While a nurse was getting Grandpa comfortable in his new room, I sat in a room filling out stacks and stacks of paperwork. And I was crying. At one point I laid my head down on the table and just sobbed. I was doing the one thing that Grandpa had begged us to never do, and the guilt I felt was unreal.

I have a recurring dream still, where I realize that I've been neglecting my grandpa and I wake up in a panic.

Thankfully Grandpa wasn't in the care center very long. Even more thankfully, he wasn't mentally aware enough to realize where he was. Oh, he knew he wasn't home but he thought he was in a hospital, and I let him believe that.

There is a point to this...really.

Whenever a trial arises I gauge it by what I went through with Grandpa. And usually, whatever it is I'm going through doesn't seem as hard as what I went through with Grandpa. I comfort myself by saying, "You got through the situation with Grandpa, you can surely get through this." And I do...and I'm grateful that I get to that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

I've mentioned recently that life has thrown some curve balls my way. For the first time since Grandpa died, I feel that these particular curve balls are harder than what I went through with Grandpa. People, in an effort to make the situation seem better say this, "It could be worse. You could be dealing with __________ " and then they give me example after example of what exactly it is that is worse.

But here's the conclusion I came to in the wee hours of the morning - and I hope it makes sense. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father custom makes certain trials. He gives to each one of us trials that He knows will stretch us to our limits, but that will allow us to learn what we need to without falling completely on our faces.

He knows what I can handle, and what I am capable of overcoming, just like He knows what each one of us is capable of handling and overcoming. And what may be the hardest thing ever for me, may be a piece of cake for someone else. What may be the 'worst' thing in the world for me to go through, may appear trivial to someone else.

I guess with all of this I come to two conclusions. One is a goal and one is a statement of fact.

Goal: To never say to someone else, "It could be worse." Rather, I will do my best to love them through their own "worst" experience.

And as a statement of fact: God really does live. He really does love us. He really does want us to return to Him, and if trials are what are going to prepare me for that, I'll just dig my heels in a little deeper.


Anonymous said...

Love ya sis!

Amy said...

I think when people say "It could be could be _____" they aren't trying to belittle your own personal worst - I hope if I've ever said that to you, you know that wasn't what I meant.

What I meant was "I'm sorry that it's long and hard and painful. I know you'll get through it because you are tough enough, and if you were 100-and-something years old I might believe that it's the hardest thing you've ever done and will ever do, but since you're not, probably you'll have something harder later and think 'I got through _____ [big trial of 2009], so I know I can make it through this'. but that doesn't make this any easier now, and I'm sorry for that."

But "it could be worse, you could be _______" is shorter...and less preachy. So if it comes out the short preachless way.....sorry.

Mostly, 'amen' to the statement of fact. :)

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

My favorite post so far and a big fat....


I couldn't have said it better if I tried.

Anonymous said...

Confession: Every single time I read your blog, I feel inadequate in comparison. I realize, now as always, that I have a long way to go, to grow, to become nicer.

Your Goal had me sitting in stunned silence, thinking of how many times I HAVE used that line to pacify patients/people/friends/family in the past. I promise I won't do that again.

p.s. I feel better EVERY TIME I read you. Unfailingly. Big hug.