Confusing New Feelings

I’ve been having an internal conflict.

My grandmother…the one who made my life miserable from 8-17 is sick.  She fell last week in her home.  She didn’t break anything, but her legs are really swollen, and she can’t move on her own whatsoever.  My aunt called twice on her progress, and I have to admit that at first I didn’t care, and was a bit annoyed.  The woman refused to get medical treatment, and just expects her family to take care of her.  That means lifting an 80+ year old woman and basically carrying her every where she wants to go.  She needs two people with her 24 hours a day because one alone can’t lift her.

My aunt has been primary caregiver because she lives close and doesn’t work.  She is stressed to the point of tears because she has no training on how to care for someone in this situation, and my grandmother refuses medical treatment.  One of my other aunts who works in the health care industry has been helping, but she works full-time and has a family with a young grandson to care for.  None of my other aunts and uncles have offered to help in any capacity, only calling from time to time to check on her progress.

I can’t help but wonder if this is a sign that I wasn’t the only one who suffered abuse by her, or if they are all too busy to help.  I’m really not sure.

I went over to her house last night to see what I could do to help.  I felt most sorry for my aunt because she’s been taking care of my grandmother for over a week now.  It’s such a hard task when your charge is basically an invalid.  My grandmother can speak and such, but she can hardly see or hear, and now she can’t move on her own.  I went and bought a bedpan so at least my aunt doesn’t have to try transferring her to the toilet in the middle of the night.

Here’s the kicker…

For as hurtful and unkind as my grandmother can be, she is now being sweet and thankful for all the help.  She has even promised to go to the clinic today.  I sat with her for almost two hours last night, and she was as kind as can be, and she never told me to do anything for her.  It was a nice change.  I even started to feel bad for her.  I promised to return to see her with my daughter because she was asking about her.

So, I’m having strange thoughts today.  I put up a wall all those years ago, when I left her house, to protect myself from her.  I would rarely visit her and only begrudgingly did the things that I was obliged to.  I didn’t have a soft spot anywhere in me for her.  It was easier for me to live my life and forget that she existed.  At that point, I was so broken that I just couldn’t take anymore.  I refused to be put into a situation where I could continue to be abused.

I guess that I can’t keep my heart hardened forever.  She’s an old woman, and it appears she’s starting to soften.  I hope it continues, and if it does, we may be able to salvage some kind of relationship before she passes.  It would be nice because she is the only “parent” I have left.

I’m still not sure how I feel about it all.  I’m starting to question everything I’ve ever felt about her, and I don’t like it.  I remember the neglect, the emotional abuse…feeling unloved.  That doesn’t change.

Maybe this is what forgiveness feels like?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marj aka thriver
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 10:55:54

    Forgiveness sounds like a great gift to give to yourself…just as long as you continue to keep yourself safe. If she isn’t being toxic anymore, maybe it can work. In my case, with my mother, she is still toxic, so I keep safe by staying away from her. My forgiveness with her will have to happen on my own, in my own heart only.

    Great, important post topic. Thank you for sharing it.


  2. insaneheart09
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 12:21:20

    Thank you for taking the time to read it Marj. It’s a tough situation to unravel. I’m keeping myself very guarded, for sure.


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