Well, Spanky - the maltese, passed away last night. I'm over my parent's house right now, and he brought Spanky over to here to be buried with my pets. I've only seen him cry when my grandmother, step-grandmother, and my daughter passed away. He was bawling worse than any of those when we buried Spanky. I can't blame him though. Spanky was 15 years old, and pretty much his only companion (besides his other dog) for the last 7 years.
My grandfather gets along pretty well, but he's 86, and the last few times I've visited him, he just hasn't been as strong as he used to be. He almost fell over when my 2 year old hugged him the other week. True enough, Brandon is 43 pounds and 41" tall so a big 2 year old, but it just saddened me to see my grandfather so weak. He's always been this strong man who worked constantly.
I guess after him losing Spanky, I'm just sooooo worried about him. Spanky honestly was his baby, and I'm afraid he'll just get depressed and make his health worse. I'm very, very close to him, so I just couldn't imagine seeing him give up from depression.
He lives about 1.5-2 hours from me, so I go see him 1-2 times a month. His hearing is terrible now, so I really can't call him on the phone any longer. I've asked him to move in with us, my parents have asked the same, but he isn't willing to give up his independence just yet.
I figured if anyone knew how to help me help him get through this, it would be you guys. It's just breaking my heart to see him hurting so badly. I know he's going to feel alone now since Spanky was his main companion, and I'm just praying he will do okay with his death. From what I saw today, I don't think that's going to happen though.
I'm very sorry for the loss your family, especially your grandpa is suffering. The longer he is able to keep his independence the better. I've seen many elderly talked into moving in with someone only to find themselves feeling very worthless, which brings on much more depression. I feel this sometimes leads to an earlier death. Its humiliating for them as well.
He may seem weak in strength, but your grandpa is very strong within. With the loss of each, his spouse, family and friends, he has gained more inner strength to endue the next.
You say this seems to have hit him harder than the deaths you mentioned. Was this dog your grandma's dog? Or, some connection to something/someone else that he has already lost?
The reason I ask is. When I had to give up my dogs this past year I was devastated. I was terrified I was going to lose my husband at the same time due to his health. Your grandpa is probably terrified of loosing his other dog at this time as well. Terrified of the thought of being "alone."
It will ease with time, unless God forbid something happens to his little friend.
As much as I hated loosing all my dogs, it ripped my heart out when I lost Bubba. Why? Why was he different? I had no idea. Then, later it dawned on me. He was my link, the link to my Cody and Laci, his parents. They'd been dead for several years. Who would've ever thought that they would've entered the picture then! But, when I dropped Bubba off that day I had to force myself to let go of his neck and get in the truck. I'd never felt anything like that before in my life and never ever want to feel that way again. I felt as though I had abandoned my kids.
Why am I telling you this? Because if you stop and think about all the other circumstances in your grandpa's life and put the pieces together you'll know what's going on with him and how you can best help him.
The best way to start is by listening to him. Let him cry. Cry with him. Reassure him he's not alone, and remember to follow through with that statement with proof through actions.
There is nothing more fearful than the thought of being left alone in this world. I have a son, a daughter-in-law, grandsons, brothers and sisters, just like your grandpa has family. BUT, when it comes to loosing those that are the closest, the most faithful and loyal to you (your spouse and in the case of many - their pets) there is a fear of being left "alone" that is undescribable. That fear is what your grandpa needs help with most. It takes prayer, love, patience, an open ear, a shoulder to cry on and visitation to help overcome it. But, by the grace of God, he will.
I sorry to hear of your grandfather's loss and will keep him in my prayers.
Year ago, when I was ministering to an elderly couple visiting them frequently, while walking in the area one early morning I found the gentleman lying in the street near his home. He had been taking a walk and died of a heart attack. I was so worried that when I would bring the news to his wife it would kill him, I called my family doctor to ask his advice. He assured me that as people age they become very strong and although she would react strongly to the news, she would be able to bear it. I found his words absolutely correct. I've since witnessed this truth in the loss of my father at a time when both were in a nursing home, and other losses to elderly friends. One suggestion that might alleviate any resultant depression could be a temporary stay in a nursing home or even an elderly day care center, where there are various activities available, trips, entertainment, etc. to help your grandfather during this time. Grieving is an important part of such a loss, and is entirely normal. With your support and that of his other dog and his children, he will make it.
|Gail, Im sorry to hear about the loss of Spunky. Youre grandfathers wanting ndependance is a normal thing. You cant make him move in with you. We had the same issue with my grandfather. It doesnt make it any easier, but knowing that he is doing for himself for as long as possible is a good thing. Just be there for him.
Again Im sorry and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
|In the short term, if he wants to talk about Spanky, let him talk, and talk with him about Spanky. Of course if he doesn't want to talk about it, there's not much you can do but be with him, if possible.
Long term? If only I had those answers...
|that's a tough one, my grandfather passed away from a heart attack in the middle of the night. he had gotten up to get a drink of orange juice and probably a heart pill, and was found laying beside the fridge, but my young cousin. His daughter and 3 kids were living with him at the time, he was 75 I think.
Anyways, if you can convince him to, an elderly home/apt set up is great. they live independently but have common rooms so if he would like to play a game of cards, watch tv with others, shoot the breeze...then also have peace and quiet and place to entertain family. they have staff to keep an eye on everyone, but they are pretty much left alone. Or if you have the option, set up a suite in your home, where he can still do things alone, cook, watch his own shows, have the task of keeping his space clean, gardening...
|Thanks everyone for the advice. I haven't talked to him since then, so I don't have any idea how he's doing now. I've been sick the last few days, so I've been cooped up in the house. I swear, the only thing worse than being sick is being sick while you have to watch kids. I'm hoping I can see him this weekend, but it depends on how everyone is feeling. We've been passing around a stomach bug to each other, so I don't want him to get it.|
I'm so sorry for your Grandfather that one of his best freinds,
Spanky passed on. Lots of good advice, and each situation
as our loved ones progress is individual.
Although I respect your Grandfather's wishes to stay independant,
things can change quickly sometimes.
We had a similar situation in our family. We lived 1 1/2 hours
from my mother in law. She had many hospitalizations,
after my father in law passed away. We tried hard to
keep her in her home with support as was her request.
It got to the point where we all had to make a decision,her independance
was important to her, but her safety was a concern to us.
She agreed to an assisted living situation, it was like a home.
She had her own room and all was provided. It was
only 20 min from our home and 10 min from my husbands
office. When she had emergencies, we could be there right away,
not stuck in commute traffic.
It was the best gift she gave my husband and herself.
She enjoyed the friends at the assisted living and it really worked
well for her. It gave us peace of mind knowing she was not alone.
Perhaps in time, your Grandfather might consider a similar
arrangement if he is not open to moving in with your Mom or
you. This is the compromise that worked for us..
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your Grandfather.............
|Gail, I'm so sorry, this is so hard. I haven't had grandparents since I was in 8th grade, so you're lucky to have one for so long! One of my grandfathers, if he was still alive, would be 111! He was born in 1894--Can you believe it! And I'm only 27...
I know you said that he seems weaker than you've ever seen him before. Is he healthy aside from that? In my mind, if he seems like he is otherwise healthy, then living by himself still doesn't seem like a horrible option. And maybe you and your family can do things to help make his home more accesible--like if his bedroom is on a second floor, you could move him downstairs to a study or downstairs bedroom so that he doesn't have to walk up and down stairs a lot and risk falls...
I've never had to deal with this before as my parents are still young, and I was too young when my grandparents went...so I'm sure my suggestions aren't that helpful...but I'm thinking of you...
.....make his home more accesible............I've never had to deal with this before as my parents are still young, and I was too young when my grandparents went...so I'm sure my suggestions aren't that helpful...but I'm thinking of you...
Your suggestions would be helpful to anyone in this type of situation, young or old.
I'm sorry you missed out on your grandparents, a lot of people do, but there are many around that "have" family that have nothing to do with them. If you feel you might be missing out on something, share your life with the elderly in nursing homes or those living alone that have no family. Grandparents are a true blessing, as is all our elderly. They have so much to give, knowledge, love, etc......and, only want companship, to be loved and someone to listen to them as though they really care about what they're saying.
|Gail,what an aweful situation.My heart goes out too your wonderful grandfather.Being that I have taken care of MANY elderly in home and in facilities I know what has worked for alot of elderly.|
1st I want too say I think it is so beautiful your parents and yourself have asked him too move in w/ your families.If only alot more families followed.This is what has worked in the past.Have your parents or yourself which ever family is more flexible w/ an elderly person in their home.Make your grandfather feel he will be helping out tons if he was too move in.Maybe approach him with "You know grandpa we know how much you love living in your own home and having your privacy,but me and (my spouce) have been hinking about having someone move into the spare bedroom too help out w/ the chores we just dont have time too do.You know how scarey it can be too have a stranger in your home,do you think grandpa theres any chance youd be willing too move in?"Maybe w/ the help of other family members an addition could be added on?the garage framed into a nice bedroom??If the whole "We need some extra help around the house" doesnt work,use the kids!!LOL!!But really approach him w/ "You know grandpa the kids are getting older,and they could really use you around".Even use the dogs,like maybe "Grandpa w/ the pets aging we need someone who could come and let them outside during the day,any chance youd be willing too help US out?"Always say "HELP US" OUT,OR "cAN YOU HELP US OUT?"tHE ELDERLY(whoops cap lock) really need too feel "needed".
I know it isnt sound advice,but I have seen this approach work many,many times.I agree w/ you that he really should not be alone,just for safety.I think it is remarkable the love you have for your grandfather,it is so precious.
|Thanks again everyone. He came over yesterday, and he's doing really well. It did me good to see him. He's still being stubborn about the living situation, but I can't blame him really. He's independent, in good health overall (being 86 and not on ANY daily meds is just amazing to me), his home is paid for, etc... He knows we're here for him whenever/if he needs us. He also KNOWS I would love his help, and I really would. It's hard with just me and the boys when my husband is deployed. Since I'm an at home mom, it'd be nice to have another adult to talk to (or argue with if we're discussing politics ), watch the kids while I do basic things like cook or shower (both so hard to do right now without both of them under my feet), etc... I wouldn't make him do anything unless he did it voluntarly - wouldn't want him to feel useless, but just having the extra pair of eyes would help.
Anyway, I'm not as worried about him. Well, I am, but I think he's going to do okay with this. He's a strong person - has been through a lot from combat in WW2 to losing children to losing spouses. I should have known he'd be okay with time (and it's still there for him but he's adjusting to it), but I just love him and worry over him too much.
|Gail, somehow I missed this...I'm going through the same thing with my Dad. He's 84 and lives alone. I want so much for him to come live with me but He's not about to give up his independence. Sometimes it's hard for me not to tell my Dad how he should "should" be living his life and to just sit back and let him do it "his way", even if that means maybe his house isn't as clean as I'd like it to be or his meals aren't as healthy as I'd like them to be. But I guess what is most important is that he feels in control of his life and happy with it!! Good luck!!|
Tasker's Mom wrote:
.....Sometimes it's hard for me not to tell my Dad how he should "should" be living his life........
As I read your post it reminded me of how it once was, a time long ago when our parents were trying to tell us how we "should" be living our lives. If memory serves me right, I don't recall always listening to their "words of wisdom" either.
It might help to point that out to your parents. How worried they were, how concerned, etc....... How now you know how they felt, how concerned and worried you are about them, their safety, etc...............
You've been sooooooo blessed to have your parents all these years. I lost my dad when I was 14, he was 36. My mom died at the age of 47, I was 30. But, I had my grandma for many years afterward, like my mom she was my best friend. God bless you all and I hope you work things out according to His will.
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