Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Me and Irene

My grandma Irene is 94 years old. She was a war bride, raised her kids as a single mom, and is a breast cancer survivor. She still lives in her own apartment, was driving until just a couple of years ago, listens to an iPod, and uses email. She is very special and we have always been close. Last year, she had a health issue that limited her ability to take care of herself completely on her own so we hired a caregiver to be with her 4 days a week a few hours each day. 

We were on the phone last weekend getting caught up and she mentioned how difficult it has been to have a caregiver. I asked if there was a problem and she said no, she has just been alone a long time and always took care of herself just fine. Adjusting to someone helping out was more challenging than she expected.  

She said, "The lady is great, she asks me all the time what she can do for me, how she can help me and I never know what to say." 

I said, "I understand. I recently broke down and hired a personal assistant. It feels very extravagant, and the first week she was doing my grocery shopping and laundry it made me feel like I must be a total slacker or something." She laughed. Even though I am a single mom, who works full time and travels 50%, hiring help makes a lot of sense, but it still feels weird.  

"It's hard to ask for help," she said.

And there we sat, 2500 miles and 48 years apart, but in the exact same place: both struggling with the uncomfortable feeling of dependency.

Us in 1970

Us in 2014

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