By my rough count Grandma has lived with us for a total of nine weeks. For the most part it's going very well. Grandma can still wash, dress and feed herself. However, she's very hard of hearing and has poor eyesight. On top of that Grandma has always been a strong-willed, outspoken woman. And like the little girl with the curl, when Grandma gets mad, she gets really mad.
Visiting Grandma once or twice a week did not entirely prepare me for this: when we would help her at her apartment she would be thankful and grateful, and if she was out of sorts she was usually just depressed, not angry. She couldn't live alone anymore, she knew it, and she very much wanted to move in with us. Which was all a huge change from just five years ago, when (at age 88) she insisted she would never want to live with us.
This past week has been probably the most challenging so far. Any little issue could become a point upon which Grandma could become a martyr. Grandma alternately doesn't want to trouble us and then a bit later will want to be pampered constantly. How do you tell a mad ninety-three year old woman who doesn't want to listen that she can't bawl people out? When Grandma acts like a selfish child how can one enforce understandable consequences?
Grandma could be a huge encouragement to the family if she had a mind to. She has the time to invest interest into her family, especially the boys who until now have seen any of their Grandparents but rarely. I'm very grateful I was able to care for Grandma before she moved here because I got to know her much better than most of the Grandchildren. And really, she's so old. She's a piece of family history that we'll lose once she's gone. But after thirty five years of living alone (plus good dollop of total depravity) she's so focused on herself she can't think of how she could be a blessing.
Grandma might turn out to be a cross to bear. And that could be a blessing too. We're still figuring it all out.