It's bittersweet. We put my Grandmother into a home this weekend. It's a good thing for her, but not an easy thing for me to see happen. Over the last few years, it's become evident she cannot look after herself and it saddens me even though I know this is life. In her prime, Mary was a woman of the working world, a social butterfly and good little shopper. The Mary I've seen recently is just the opposite. She spends her time sitting in front of her TV, it's a chore to get her to dress and leave her place and material things no longer matter. It's the one part of her new surroundings that actually stunned me.... This woman spent her lifetime accumulating "stuff" and shopping for "things" and now, she lives in a small room with none of it. When I first walked into the nursing home, I went to her room but she wasn't there. I looked around and noticed she brought only what was most important to her, ....photographs of her family, her favourite quilt and her TV. Thats it. My Dad put some of her furniture in and nailed a few of her decorations to her walls so they aren't so bare and give her something familiar to be around but realistically she has nothing with her in comparrison to what she spent her life accumulating. I stood there for a few minutes telling myself this just isn't right, this just isn't her. I felt horrible that she has had to make this move and felt overwhemled that I didn't do anything to try to stop this from happening to her.
After walking around the home looking for her, I spotted her in the lounge. She had a group of ladies gathered around her as she spoke and in that moment I had a flashback of the Mary that once was. Mary was always the party organizer, "hostess with the mostess" type of lady back in the day and had plenty of friends. As I watched her in her new surroundings I noticed she had a glow about her that told me she was happy to be there and her very distinctive laugh carried out into the hallway (which is what made my sons recognize GG was in a room nearby!) She was delighted to see us, introduced us to her new friends (a few of them gentlemen!) and when we sat down just her and I for coffee she told me she likes it there and I don't need to worry about her. She had spark, she had life and she had happiness about her, so different from the Granma I was watching deteriorate in her own isolated house just weeks ago. After only two days in this home, I have seen her spirit shine like I haven't seen in a lot of years.
My husband and I have always been more about "doing" than we are about "having" but this is definately an eye opener for us in really knowing one day we will leave it all behind. Life as I see it should be spent absorbing energies that fill us with positiveness because in the end the "stuff" won't matter ....but the life experiences, personal encounters and your overall well being will, and will empower your spirit to shine bright. And THAT is what really matters.