This I Believe

Kathleen - Kirkland, Washington
Entered on January 18, 2009

I believe I’m getting older.

I believe that’s better than the alternative, as my grandfather used to say.

At least for now.

I believe I’m doing the right thing by helping out with my grandmother’s care after her stroke.

I believe that she deserves to live at home and that helping her is making me a stronger, more compassionate person.

But it makes me cry on the way home.

I believe that the purpose of my life is to make the world, or at least the people in my little corner of the world, better off for my having been here taking up space and resources.

I believe that I don’t have to have children to do this.

Grandma agrees.

I believe that Grandma’s mind remains strong, though her body is increasingly weak and increasingly betraying her.

I believe that she can recover some of her balance and endurance with more exercise, especially in a warm swimming pool, but I don’t know how much I can or should push her.

Grandma says when she wakes up in the morning, her first thought is that she is disappointed she woke up.

I believe depression is justified when you’ve lost your health and independence, and that drugs that make you okay with that are for your relatives, not for you.

I believe I’m out of my depth.

Grandma says she isn’t having much fun these days, that her choices are all made for her, so what’s the point of being here?

I believe that I help to give her more choices, even if it’s just what she eats, wears, and does on our field trips when my aunt is not there.

I believe that Grandma has a magic touch and an evil wit, and that I sleep more soundly at her house than anywhere else on the planet. I always have.

Grandma says that half of her is dead, but she will try to do her exercises every day.

I believe that people should be helped to live in their own homes until they are truly unable or unwilling to do so.

I believe that professional caregivers are saints or angels. Likely both.

Grandma says she feels close to Grandpa at the house and that in her dreams, he holds her in his arms.

I believe her.