I’m reading the chapter on aging. Lauren (the writer) points out that in Jewish culture, there is more of a focus on respecting the elderly. Not that this doesn’t happen in other circles, but in Jewish lives, it is expected. This includes not only standing in the presence of the aged, but also caring for them when they can’t. There’s other points, too, but you’ll have to read the book to get all of that 🙂
This made me think of my own grandparents and others in my life. I am fortunate enough to still have both sets of my grandparents still alive, and I have known them my whole life. My paternal grandmother has a whole sewing room for all of her sewing projects. When visiting my grandparents’ home while growing up, I remember her practicing songs on the piano before choir practice at her church (maybe that’s where my dad gets his musical abilities, and how I first got interested in music). I have watched her take care of several aging relatives in her home. It was very difficult at times, but she always served and did what was needed.
My mom and aunts now help take care of my maternal grandmother (I mentioned her briefly in a previous post). You see, now she has Alzheimer’s. The past several years has been very difficult for my family, and we’ve walked through this season we weren’t prepared to face. My mom and aunts have seen more of it, since they are closer. Fortunately, she is still able to live in her house with my grandfather at this point. And even though she cannot remember from one moment to another, and still occasionally has “bad” days, there are some things that have not changed: When she sees a picture of some pretty flower arrangement or even pink and purple clouds in the sky at sunset, she notices and says something about them (sometimes it’s “that’s so pretty!” Other times, she just gestures because she can’t find the words. But she notices, nonetheless). She still wants to help others. She still has compassion for other people, and is moved to tears when she sees other people in pain or struggling. And when I greet her with “Hi, Gran!” and hug her, she almost always says, “I love you.”
I have a couple of “adopted” grandmothers where I live, too. One of them has taught me about the importance of encouraging words, and the power of redemption. She has good hugs and is so full of joy. Another “adopted” grandmother is a little fireball of a woman, and she has taught me about standing firm in faith and trusting God’s word towards me no matter what.
I have a friend of mine who works as a nurse for Hospice. Every day, she cares for the elderly in their last days. She embodies exactly what this chapter talks about: She is able to give honor and respect to the dying, and care for them and give them love. I am so thankful for her and the gift that she has.
I will have to write another post to cover the influence of the grandfathers in my life 🙂 I hope that this post has not been too morbid or sad for you….I hope that it helps you think about those around you who have lived through previous generations. Think about what they have taught you, and what kind of legacy they have passed down. Whether they are blood relatives or “adopted” elderly individuals, think about the good things that they have given you, and be thankful. 🙂