My grandparents have been in their Seniors' Lodge for a few weeks now, and I decided to go visit them today now that the madness of tax season is over. I told my grandpa that he could go out and run some errands while I hung out with grandma, and he was happy to oblige. Of course, he could go out and run errands anyway, and the nurses would check on my grandma, but it breaks my heart to think she could be one of those seniors who just sits in their chair for hours, dozing, staring, not doing anything. Her knitting and sewing days are long over - sometime it seems a struggle for her just to remember how to use a fork.
And so I sat, open box of Timbits beside her chair, and I watched as she dozed, coming in and out of dreams, and mentioning her sister Joan like she was there in the room with us. We didn't talk about anything; there's not really much more to talk about. She has moments when she can answer questions, but a lot of the time she pauses while her poor brain tries to comprehend, and sometimes what comes out of her month isn't even understandable.
When grandpa asked if I would stay for lunch, beaming in anticipation, I could read in his eyes that it would be so nice to have a welcome distraction for a few more moments. I told him I would have to see what was on the menu (I was worried it was going to be liver or cabbage), but to my surprise it was soup, ravioli and salad, and looked absolutely delicious. So he walked down to the office to buy me a ticket for lunch, and seemed so happy to have the company.
Lunch was very nice, sitting with a group of grandmas and grandpas, all very polite, some being spoon fed, and one who was having her 86th birthday (we had chocolate cake!). The nurses were fabulous, helping out wherever needed, making me want to change my career in midlife, wanting to make a different to people who had worked hard all of their lives and deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.
And as I sat with my grandparents, ages 91 and 89, I realized that everything else in the world could wait, and I told them I would be back to visit on Sunday.
They were thrilled.