I’ve been very cautious about my relationships with elderly people. Sometimes I may be too on guard about my feelings towards them that I may come across as being unresponsive and somewhat rude. It’s not that I don’t like old people or have something against them. They’ve changed my life. But maybe it’ll make a bit more sense after this post.
There’s a post tagged under grandparents that begins my story here. Long story short, I am full of regret for not being a better granddaughter for the one grandparent I grew up with. It was too late when I realized what I lost. When I volunteered at a senior home, I became emotionally attached to the seniors; particularly Connie, who I became a companion for. Again, she was gone too soon and I felt my heart being ripped apart again. Maybe it’s just my stupidity that constantly puts my heart out there to love and care for people and risking the pain that seems to always come after. With my experiences, I’ve learned how the elderly aren’t what they seem to be. Their childlike innocence and their love for everyone is indescribable. They might forget and think slowly, but they will always remember the happy times and their family. They just want someone to talk to, someone to care about them more than whether or not they need to go to the washroom or have their meal. I love the elderly but it’s hard to put myself into that position again.
I also feel as though some elders attempt to put themselves into the role of my grandparent. Maybe I just sound rebellious when I think “you’re not my grandma so don’t feel like I’m obligated” or when I don’t want to spend so much time with them. I just feel as though I’ve had enough attachment with them and can’t let them too close in fear of their attempt to “replace” my grandmother with themselves. I understand that they want someone to care and love like their own child, but I do not want to be that person. How do you tell someone that? I never experienced displays of affection from my grandma and a reason why I let Connie in was because she openly showed her love for me. A stranger that she sometimes forgets but she genuinely cared about me, even if she couldn’t put it into words. Just holding her hand and sitting alongside her in silence, hearing her say “I love you” and not wanting me to leave. That was the grandma I wanted and I feel as though the ones who’ve tried to take on that role were too authoritative, not seeming to actually care about me. Honestly, the childlike innocent kind of love is the best thing one can experience.
Time will tell whether I’ll experience another relationship with a senior who I could truly love and give my care to. In the time being however, I think I have enough to invest in on my plate as is. I do hope that one day I can open my heart to the seniors as freely again.