My grandmother is dying.
She has a number of days left most likely.
One of the issues we’ve been navigating is how best to handle this with our kids. They are aged 11, 8, and 6. I am not proud to admit that she’s had a slowly decreasing role in our lives. She has suffered fairly advanced dementia and has lived in a nursing home for the last several years.
She’s not often conscious, at this point, and this is a blessing. She’s got a pretty severe respitory infection. The other clients in the nursing home sometimes do stuff that the kids find disturbing.
We’ve done an o.k. job of talking about it and sharing our feelings.
The real struggle is this: the older two kids really don’t want to see her.
On some level, there is no point. She’s hardly ever even awake. And when she is, she has no clue who she is, where she is, or who we are.
On some other level, though, visiting is the right thing to do. I’m working really hard at sorting out what people think and say is the right thing to do, because I don’t particularly care if anybody is impressed or not. I have been visiting her every day or two. I’m trying to lead by example.
And one of my deals is just sorting out my own junk. My own issues with aging, and death, and saying goodbye, and putting everything in God’s hands… She was an important figure in my life. I am sad that she will be gone.
I just don’t know how much pressure we should put on them. Will they someday think that we should have put more pressure on them to say goodbye? Will they someday blame us if we do pressure them? More important than what they will someday think, is the question of what is best for them, what is the right thing to do. And it’s pretty hard to work that all out right now.
What do you think?