Wednesday, June 15, 2011

People Who Kick Ass - Selfless Caregivers

Mrs. Lampshade's contribution to Mammalingo‘s “People Who Kick Ass” series.  This week we're joining Mammalingo in celebrating the people around us who don't get the attention and accolades they properly deserve. Tired of hearing about Weiner's weiner or Lindsay's latest stint in rehab/jail/ankle braceleting? So are we. That's why we're talking about some great people who actually deserve a little press.

Thirteen years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  I was away at college and only witnessed her slide into the unknown at occasional weekend family gatherings.  Truthfully, it was almost too unbearably painful to watch.  The bright social butterfly – the matriarch of our enormous Irish Catholic clan – went from Countess of the Kitchen to frail observer.  While she was never shut off from any festivities she became unable to actively participate in the constant, noisy banter that surrounds my family. 

She could have spent her final years in a nursing home, as so many elderly do.  It’s a difficult decision to put a loved one in the care of others, but it’s an incredible task to take them into your home.  And that is what my Aunt & Uncle and their family of three wonderful daughters chose to do.  We shall call them The AngelsThe Angels took on the responsibility of feeding, bathing, and caring for my grandmother.  They did tasks that no child expects to perform for their parent and they did it with humor and grace.  The Angel girls not only accepted their grandmother into their home, but constantly involved her in their chatter and lives.  And all three girls excelled in their educations, school activities and social lives. 

When my grandmother passed two summers ago, they were at her side.  I know the last thing she felt was the love they had for her.  I like to imagine that she floated freely and circled them with the hug that she was so fond of handing out when she had control of the mind and body that were her right as a human being.  The right that she was able to hang on to because The Angels – true Saints on Earth – brought her into their home, involved her in their lives and allowed her to retain her dignity while in the hands of a terrible and degrading disease.   And they never expected anything in return. 

They are love.  They are laughter.  They are faith and family.  They are people who truly kick @$$. 

*Post Note*
While my entry is about my grandmother and the selfless love toward her from The Angels, I would be remiss if I did not add that The Angels also took in my Uncle's mother and father for several years - at one point caring for all three parents simultaneously.  And recently, both my Aunt her her eldest daughter flew to Bahrain - in the midst of all of the Middle Eastern turmoil - to spend time with our cousin during her final days of terminal illness.

They also did not do it alone.  My sincerest thanks to my other Aunts, Uncles and Cousins for making Grandma's comfort and dignity a priority; allowing The Angels to take some time to themselves; and showing others, through example, what selfless loves looks like.  Your actions make me a better parent.  

Want to read about more people who kick ass? Check out these fabulous blogs as well:

An Attitude Adjustment
The Daddy Complex

If you're a blogger and know some People Who Kick Ass and deserve to be recognized for it, link up with us this week and spread the word.
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