• Grace was a seventy-eight year old woman, She was less than five feet tall and weighed about ninety pounds. Permed, light brown hair perched on top of an earnest, often worried face.


    Grace lived at Trollwood Village. Trollwood is an apartment complex where my mother once lived before Mom joined Dad in Rosewood on Broadway, a nearby nursing home.


    Back when Mom was still living at the apartment, I’d pick her up daily and we go visit Dad. Since I was at Trollwood anyway, Mom’s friend Grace rode along, as her husband, who’d had a stroke, was also at Rosewood. Once Mom no longer lived in the apartment, Grace started taking the senior bus to the nursing home. But I saw her there nearly every day. We hugged and visited.


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    Grace hadn’t driven for decades. She had rarely written checks. Her husband even helped her choose her clothes. With her husband so disabled, Grace was frightened, lonely and, sometimes, frantic.  Then, her husband died.


    Grace, who never drove, never made decisions – was now on her own. Depression and loneliness, along with other health issues, plagued her life. She loved me. She always said, “I wish I had a Carol” meaning, of course, a caring, dutiful daughter – in town, available at all times. I knew Grace was grateful for any help I could give her. I also knew she needed more from me than I could give, and I felt terribly guilty for failing her.
     

    Grace:


    Unmerited mercy or pardon. I reminded myself that through Divine Grace, we are allowed to be human. Let God be God.  I’ve been driven all of my life to try to make things better for everyone I come in contact with and am wracked by guilt when I fail – which is inevitable. I try to do more than is humanly possible.


    I told myself that I did as much as I could for Grace. She understood. It’s just that she was so lonely and depressed. Her family was far away. She needed me. I could give her occasional rides, talk to her on the phone, be available for some emergencies. But I couldn’t see her every day.


    I told myself she had many friends and a family to help her.


    I told myself that she had many social services provided, many available professionals.


    I told myself that to feel guilty for not being the perfect caregiver for yet one more elder, to try to preserve my own health and sanity for my family and my work, was not wrong.


    I reminded myself I am just human.


    Grace:
    Let God be God.

    To learn more about Carol, please go to www.mindingourelders.com
     or www.mindingoureldersblogs.com.
Published On: April 24, 2007