I’ve never really written about this before but lately it has really gotten to me. Maybe before I was in denial or just didn’t want to see it but I see it now and I can’t unsee it. My Nanny has been wheelchair bound for years now but the past couple of years, she has gradually gotten worse and worse. A couple of years ago, my mom basically moved in with her to help take care of her because every time she was left alone, she would end up falling. When she falls, they have to send someone to help her up. Her limit of getting around was from her wheelchair to her chair and that’s about all. I knew her mobility and her memory had been getting worse. I remember last year when planning for my parents 50th anniversary and at Christmas too when my Mom would break down in tears and say she didn’t think Nanny would be around too much longer. I hate seeing someone cry but I especially hate it when it’s my Mom. If I dwell on it too much, I will cry too and that will just make HER cry more so I try not to think about it.
My Nanny made a comment before the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my parents that most parents don’t live long enough to see their daughter’s 50th and that is definitely true. My Nanny is 90 years old and that is an accomplishment, for sure. She said she wanted to make it to see the anniversary and then after that, she was ready to go….I’m sure you understand what she meant.
That was back in November. Since then, it has gotten harder for her to even move a step from chair to chair. Two Sundays ago, she fell in the bathroom while my parents were at church. Stubbornness runs in our family and she was trying to do something she shouldn’t have (getting something out of the closet), failed to turn her wheelchair off and it bumped into her, causing her to fall on her stomach. Luckily, my Uncle Wayne was coming in that day, got there early, heard her call for help and took the bathroom door off and helped her back in her chair. She had bruises on her head, was sore all over and possibly sprained a finger and her ankle. Since then, the even one step has been torture for her, as I have seen with my own eyes. My Mom tries to help her as much as she can but my Mom is 69, almost 70 herself and she is basically having to carry my Nanny’s weight a lot to help her in the chair. This past Monday and Tuesday I was over there and I could see the frustration on both of their faces as they argued with each other. My Mom gets frustrated because my Nanny won’t let do what she needs to do and she won’t let her help her the way SHE wants to help her. My Nanny gets upset because it’s so hard for her and she hates that Mom has to do so much. There’s been many a time when I have heard her say it would be easier on my Mom if she wasn’t around and that breaks my heart. I know it breaks Mom’s heart. On Tuesday, my Nanny said she thought she might have possibly cracked a rib or two during the fall and you could visibly tell she was in excruciating pain. She’s diabetic, her legs swell like crazy, she’s too old for surgery and she can hardly get around at all anymore. She’s been telling me “Don’t ever get old, Sharon” a LOT lately. What do I say to that?
My Mom seems to be at the end of her rope with what she can do. She has mentioned nursing homes a lot lately and I KNOW Nanny will absolutely hate it if that happens. My Mom would be there as much as possible though. Our family is NOT the type to put our family in a nursing home and abandon them. My Mom would end up living there if allowed, trust me. But in the back of your mind, we all know what nursing homes stand for. A last resort. The place you go to when all other solutions fail. My Nanny has adamantly stated in the past that she never wanted to go to a nursing home. I fear that if my Nanny permanently goes to one, this will mean she won’t be here much longer. She’s been saying for awhile now that she doesn’t expect to be around before each event comes. We all just try to ignore it and tell her she’ll probably live to 100. Deep inside, I and probably everyone else fears the truth. When someone starts saying they don’t expect to be around much longer, I think they have stopped having a reason to live. A lot of people go to nursing homes and then don’t last much once they enter those doors.
I don’t want to consider that my Nanny might not be here come next year. I don’t want to ever think about a world where my last grandparent is gone from this world. I don’t want to imagine that someday I will have my first child and he or she will never know their Nanny. BUT you can’t hide from the truth forever and it’s finally hitting me. As I write this post, the first tears form and flow from my eyes. I’ve NEVER thought this out the way I am doing now so I’ve never allowed myself to cry over it. I am now, though. I thought it was time I let my feelings out so I can really digest everything that’s happening around me. In the same week as I become a Great Aunt again, I have to also come to grips with the fact that I could possibly lose another family member in the not too distant future. It’s possible she WILL live to 100, but my head and my heart tells me that I need to be realistic. So I am…and it hurts…and I’m scared but I will get through because someone will have to be here for my Mom when the day comes.