Like many of you, there has been tremendous upheaval in my life during the past few of months. For the past three and a half years, I have been responsible for exactly half of the upbringing of my granddaughter, who is the bright spot in my life. (The other half has been the responsibility of her other grandmother). Now that my husband has been diagnosed with early dementia and can no longer handle the responsibility of helping me take care of her, most of her care has been placed into the hands of her other grandmother. While I very much appreciate the fact that she is in capable and responsible hands, I feel very much as though I have lost her. To make matters worse, there is not a damn thing I can do about it without creating more devastation in my life.
So many questions and "what-if's" have been running through my head. Why am I and my husband going through this journey of dementia now? Why am I still in a job with such inconsistent hours and lousy pay? Why does my granddaughter need to be wretched away from me as she has? What if my financial and living situation changed into something where I would be able to take more consistent care of my granddaughter? And on and on ad nauseam.
Notice the focus of the above questions: it is always about me. While my husband and granddaughter are mentioned, my questions do not look at the challenges they are facing. They do not take into account their needs throughout this process, and that is the problem!
The fact of the matter is, my granddaughter still needs fulltime care. My present work schedule is just not conducive to a toddler's needs. If truth be known, caring for my granddaughter has gotten more stressful under the present circumstances. Even when she is with me I know I am not at my best. It feels selfish and wrong to try to insist that she spend more time with me right now. As much as I hate to admit it, I am not what she needs right now. Her other grandmother is.
I am what my husband needs right now (as incapable as I feel). As I help him deal with the change, I also need to adapt myself and my life so that when he is no longer capable of helping I can make sure that all of our needs, financial and otherwise, are met.
The irony of this whole situation is that I have been praying for major change in my life for at least a year now. I don't want to have to rely on the income I bring in from a dead-end job. I don't want to struggle to get by. I would like to wake up every morning with a smile on my face, knowing that my income is being brought to me through serving others with my talents and gifts in ways that heal the planet. I like to talk about how pain is part of the transition process toward better things, and yet when the pain is at my doorstep I holler just as loudly as the next guy!
When I focus on losing my granddaughter, I am miserable. It is only when I think about her needs that I am able to understand that my life needs to be about something different at present. I have enough on my plate with my husband's health and my job situation. My husband definitely needs me to be on top of things for his sake right now.
It is only when I begin to understand my role in the collective that I am once again able to see the light. I am able to let go of the whys and the what-ifs and free myself, knowing I have a role to play and allowing others to play theirs. I will get where I need to go. All is right in the world.