When Grandma Ends Up Solo

This post was written by Valerie on April 24, 2012
Posted Under: Grandma Quotes

Solo Heron

Here you are staring out to sea and it was bad enough that you walked along the shore to only look back and see only your footprints. So many women I have met remind me how lucky I am to have a partner/husband and I remind them there were years and years when I was alone.

Back to it not being about me but looking at the lives of the women and how they cope has taught me a lot and hopefully you newly single women out there have some great coping skills to share too and we would love to hear them.

One constant theme in many of my friends found themselves suddenly alone when their spouses had died. The hardest part was yet to come.

Their husbands had managed their money and it was not until after their death did they learn they were in debt–due to credit cards/loans due for their business or just barely making ends meet and their husbands thought they were protecting their wives by not telling them. There still was time they thought to make the money back and all will be well.

So that was not the case. My one friend lost her husband to suicide and he was not only in debt but owed others hundreds of thousands of dollers. The IRS came to her door before she even put him to rest. They took her car and froze her bank accounts. She had two small children and nothing. They even attached her wages. She was a young woman that we all envied when she met him and had a beautiful wedding and  travelled and seemed so happy and more so when the children came along. She picked up the phone and starting calling lawyer friends that did jump in and helped her-even getting her car back. It was years but finally she was remarried and happy once again.

Another friend’s husband had a heart attack and they had been married all their lives. Friends started to stop by and support her in her grief but one of his ex-partners in business took her to court and sued her and left her with nothing.

Yet a third friend who travelled constantly with her husband lost him to cancer. He had charged all the travel ending up with a very large credit card debt. She was awesome working with the credit card companies and managed on her own and through her grief to get a settlement agreed upon.

So financially there was a huge impact above and beyond living the day to day and stay up on your current money issues now and not when you loose your mate.

I looked out my window yesterday and saw a small yellow bird with a spot of dark blue on his head and he watched me as he kept hopping up and down on a chair outside. I swear he looked me straight in the eye each time and turning his head to get a better look. Was he just seeing his reflection? I see my reflection in the women above.

As a Grammy as my grandchildren call me I was babysitting yesterday briefly. My youngest grand daughter just 17 months was sick and her brother had a baseball game. I stayed to watch her and her twin. I held her in my arms and she did manage to eat some applesauce but that was it. So I held her as I watched her healthier sister finish her dinner. She had me in a hold with one hand tightly holding the sleeves of my sweater and her hot face against me and she did not move as I patted her back.

Her check was so hot against my cheek. I managed to keep patting her back and she burped a couple of times. When the other twin was done eating we went back up stairs to their room and the healthy one played while I continued to rock the sick one. I felt like I was all alone those many years ago with two small kids (not twins but close in age). My husband went to cheer on our grandson while he played baseball. I was comforted by that and even more so when she was so hot it was time to take her temperature and I could not find what I needed.

I called my daughter but she did not hear her phone and I then called my husband and he handed the phone to my daughter and she told me where to find the thermomater and if it was over 101 to call her back. The were only going to be gone a short time.

The temp was not right so I kept taking it over and over. She felt a lot hotter than 98.9 to me. I took off her long sleeved turtle neck and the tights and just lightly covered her and kept rocking. The other twin kept hitting toys that made music and she would look at me to see if I was watching her and she smiled and danced for me. She was so good and so cute.

I could not get the sick one to drink water but she loves to have her teeth brushed. At least she loves to eat the tooth paste. But in brushing her teeth I did get her to take some sips of water. I got the girls then dressed for bed and turned on the sound machine (which really works wonders) and sang them “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and lightly covered them and went downstairs to wait for my daughter and the other kids to arrive.

The sick one is on the left

As they slept I kept thinking about my friends. One of my friends I just got to see after 30 some years and her husband just left her after their children were married with their own kids for a younger woman. It was his birthday in March and even though they aren’t married they see each other on their birthdays. My other friend and I told her to stop doing that. She did not want to not go but she went from her parents to marriage and she is learning her way about being on her own. It is so hard. We talked about getting to move furniture or stuff you only tolerated for your spouse. She nodded whole heartedly and said she did do that and it felt “darn” good.

She gets little sleep each night and I wish I could soothe her like I did my sick grand daughter. I want to help her move on. She wants help to move on so our plan will take place in a week.  So I thought how the healthy twin danced and smiled for her sick sister and then I got it-that ah ha moment. I know how I can help my friend to cope with her pain.  I will do what my healthy granddaughter showed me.

My healthy grand daughter was playing music and dancing and looked to me for approval and even if it seems like her sick sister wasn’t listening-she was and today she is much better and no fever.

We tend to want to over comfort and we should listen to those in pain or need but by staying upbeat I think that helps the most. Knowing you made it through and your friend knows you did when she saw me struggling she stayed upbeat for me. Teach your friend to enjoy life again and by turning to others you will find the approval you need to heal and move forward with your life.

Listen to that music and dance!




Reader Comments

This is a lovely piece, Val….from the heart. You are a super Grandma and friend…Love you!

Written By Grandma Sharon on April 25th, 2012 @ 2:08 am

Thank you Grandma Sharon love you and you are a a super grandma who sews!! and creates such great photo’s they are works of art.
Hugs and love you back, Val

Written By Valerie on April 25th, 2012 @ 4:53 am

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