Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why Should I Be Grateful?

I usually try to make my posts positive, even if I am not thinking that way.  Sometimes I can talk myself into feeling positive.  Today, I am having trouble.

This Sunday I blogged "This week, I plan a week of gratefulness posts.  I can be thankful for many things this week, including family and good health.".

My mother in law is getting out of a rehab facility today.  She is in her upper 80's.  In the United States, a person (especially the elderly) may be put in an inpatient rehabilitation center after a hospitalization if they need intensive therapy and monitoring to return to a normal functioning.  In my mother in law's case, she was hospitalized for nearly a week and was in the rehab facility for over a month.

When I would visit her, I had to walk down a long corridor.  The doors of each room are open to the view of anyone who walks by.  I tried to avert your eyes but it is hard.  I saw room after room with a senior sitting in a chair, if they weren't in therapy.

I thought of these people - once young, limber, hard working, vital, perhaps athletic, loving, creative.

What happened?

Strokes, falls, broken bones, cancer, you name it.

As I write this, someone I know in her 80's is in comfort care.  She fell in February and hit her head.  It's been a horrible journey - hospitalization, acute care, a nursing home.  Now, there is nothing more they can do for her.  Watching what has happened to her has been a painful process for her family.  I can not imagine the sufferings this woman experienced as her condition deteriorated.

I think of friends and acquaintances who have passed on.  Several from cancer.  One from a liver disorder.  A couple from heart attacks. They ranged in age from 13 to 63.   I could say that aging is a privilege, but, today, I don't feel that way.

Why do these things happen?  I've never been a questioning person or a spiritual person.  This is changing.

I try to appreciate the world around me in this, my 62nd year.  I express gratefulness when I wake up every morning.  I enjoy the sunrise and the sunset.  But then I think of those (mostly women) in the rehab facility.  Will I be there one day? 

I look at my changing body, the wrinkles, the deterioration of balance, the senior moments.  We like to make light of them, because sometimes they aren't funny.

And then I worry about my mother in law. 

We will see what happens when my mother in law gets out today. The staff of the rehab has worked hard with her, and she has worked hard in turn.  But will the hard work continue once home?  Or will she return to her lifting chair and her favorite TV channel?

Is there, in the end, such a thing as aging with grace?

Can I condemn someone for giving up when I have never been through what they have been through?  But, as one of her caregivers, it frustrates me because I can see what will happen if she doesn't change her ways.  She's been given this chance.  Will she take it?

I don't know if she will.

Will this be my fate one day?   I am grateful that we aren't given that knowledge, usually, until towards the end of our lives.

How do you feel about your aging?

This is day 24 of NaBloPoMo.


  1. Hugs, Alana. Such hard realities and you raise so many important questions. I often wonder what will happen to my husband and I when we age, since we have no children. Of course, I also see so many older folks who have children that immigrated and they're pretty much on their own. From my personal experience, I've found that being grateful for what I have in the present moment - even when it's not 'good', is what keeps me from worrying about the future. Sending thoughts and prayers to you and your mother-in-law as she recovers.

  2. I understand completely. MY father spent a lot of time in and out of rehab before he died, and my boyfriend's uncle is now living in a nursing home. It's difficult to see your family member in one of those places, difficult to see the other people who are living there or being treated there, for all the reasons you mention.

  3. Oh you make me think of so many things. Life is short and I want to live each day to the fullest. I am not spiritual either. But when my day comes I hope it is quick and painless, for me. My sons don't even want to talk about it.

  4. My grandmother transitioned at the age of 98, I held her hand and it was beautiful, however, I don't want to live that long. My son has threaten to put me in the garage - lol HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND STAY BLESSED!

  5. As in home care giver. I see people make bad choices or continue to keep doing there bad habits when it comes to there health.
    I keep saying I need or want to change my health habits (I know changing one habits isn't always easy) so I'll cut my odds down that I won't end up being a burden on someone else.
    But learning from my job. The elderly and disable has lot more choices then they did years ago.

    I have tried to bring up with my sons what happen when we age and it like they put it on the back burner and it's not even on low heat.

    Coffee is on

  6. I actually have to agree with you! I don't really want to know WHAT my fate it, I simply want to live one day at a time and enjoy every moment!! As you should too! I'm sorry to hear about your mother in law though :(

  7. I think the worst thing you can do is worry about things. My great-grandmother was petrified of needing a breathing tube, and in the end that's what happened to her. For a bit. (At a certain point they let her go.) I think it's the things that we kind of expect (as in, worry about) that actually happen.

    There are plenty of seniors who do give up. I think they kind of expect to. But the aforementioned great-grandmother refused to go into any sort of facility, and lived on her own until she was hospitalized for that breathing issue that eventually killed her. She had trouble getting around (I used to take her grocery shopping--I had just gotten my driver's license), but otherwise did just fine.

  8. Alana.. I am not even thinking about aging yet, but you raised many valid questions. I understand that our health might not be as good as we expect in old age, but i wish to have painless death. Feeling grateful for whatever we have will make us positive, but it's really difficult to be grateful when one is going through difficult phases.

  9. This is a tough one and hits close to home! My mother is 91 and lives in a private board and care home in California (my parents moved down there in the 70s). She too has been in and out of hospitals and rehabs and now she is bedridden and under hospice care. She has Dementia and seems fairly content, thank goodness. I sure don't want to end up that way and it haunts me, sometimes. I hope you MIL keeps up her therapy and feels better.

  10. I am sorry for what you are going through. It is a difficult time and I'm sending positive thoughts to you and your family.


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