After a wonderful dinner with some new friends Saturday night, we drove across the state to visit with Mike's grandmother, who recently fell and broke several ribs, puncturing a lung. While we were there, we also visited his other grandmother whose husband died in August.
It was a difficult trip. Both women are suffering. Both women are sad and trying to cope. Both women are frustrated with losing abilities as they grow old. Both women are wonderful, beautiful people.
The grandma in the hospital was depressed and frustrated with herself for falling. She was frustrated with being in a teeny tiny hospital room with no view. She was frustrated with growing old and not making her own decisions anymore. She wants to give up. She also wants to go home. The doctor talks to her children instead of her.
The grandma whose husband passed away spent half of our visit crying and pretending like she was fine. It was heartbreaking. At one point, she broke down into quiet little tears and I grabbed her hand, "We all miss him." She blinks away the tears and asks us how Cleveland is. She deserves to grieve the loss of her husband of almost 70 years. She deserves to cry as much and as often as she wants.
It struck me as we spent time with these wonderful women: I think we, as a society, too often write the elderly off as senile, overly-emotional, suffering from dementia, not deserving of respect, and ultimately - tragically unimportant.
And that realization was the most heartbreaking of all.
Lest you think I am altogether too serious and depressing, this is what I did to entertain myself while visiting: