Patience is a skill that I find is very hard for many people to conquer. I myself have always been a very patient person when it comes to difficult situations that most people would abandon their patience almost instantly. I am always the one member of my family go to for help on difficult situations that require a good amount of patience, such as math or relationship advice (which is ironic considering I have not had a long-term relationship in quite some time). However, when it comes to my grandmother patience always seems to be my biggest obstacle. I have struggled with this ever since I can remember but as of the last two years I have had to try to overcome this difficulty as her health has started to decline and she has started to need help with her day to day activities.
Ever since I was a child I have always made better friends with boys then I did girls. I was raised around sports and as a little girl you would hardly see girls my age at parties for football games so naturally I would have to hang out with the boys. Although I never minded because I found that I got along better with boys than girls because girls were always so annoying and dramatic. I didn’t seem to have any friends that were girls until I was in high school. My freshman year of high school I had a best friend named Autumn. She was short and quirky; she loved rock music and dying her hair a different color every other week. We did everything together as normal best friends do; went to the mall together, went on walks, she was even the manager for my softball team our freshman year because she was always at my practices so my coach gave her a job so she actually had something to do and would go to the away games with us. You would think that was a normal relationship for two best friends that were girls right? Most people do; most people would look at a boy and a girl as best friends as being a little odd without there being more to their relationship not a couple of girls. Apparently my grandmother did not think the same as most people would about her granddaughter having a girl best friend. Throughout the first two years of my high school career my grandmother would not only ask me but Autumn too if we were lesbians. At least once a month I would get the same questions, sometimes in a different form, but they always had the same inquiry behind them and the same result. “Are you lesbians? Have you realized your feelings for each other yet?”.
To anyone that doesn’t know my grandmother they would think she was joking but to me and to my mother we both knew that she is just that person that thinks that if her granddaughter had a girl best friend she had to be a lesbian. After this started to happen, I truly lost all patience for her. I didn’t want to spend time with her and I didn’t want to talk about my personal life or especially my love life with her because I was tired of all the comments. At that time in my life I didn’t see a reason of why I would have to learn to have patience for her and her thoughts. I was a teenager in high school and was in no position to have to take care of anyone but myself with the exception of occasionally doing favors for my mother when she didn’t have the time or frankly the energy to. It wasn’t till two years ago that I discovered the things I needed to learn to help take care of my grandmother and especially my mother.
For all my life my grandmother was five foot, extremely overweight, and wore round glasses and short hair that made her look like an older version of Edna from The Incredibles. She had arthritis in both of her knees; torn meniscus in both knees and was born with one kidney that as of a few years ago was failing. She got fed up with having trouble walking and the constant pain that came with it so my mother and I took her to the orthopedic surgeon and he told her that before he could even consider replacing her knees she had to lose a very significant amount of weight. Over the course of the next year she took that assignment very seriously. She stuck to a diet and engage in as many excises as she could, considering the condition of her knees. She ended up losing over 100 pounds in a year. The down side of losing that much weight in a short amount of time is when you are anorexic. Losing that much puts a strain on the heart since it is essentially a giant muscle.
Sadly, even though she was doing well losing the weight and starting to get a healthier lifestyle she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We spent the next few months taking her in and out of the hospital. My mother and I decided that she needed someone to help her and watch over her to make sure she was following the diet that now she had to follow for her heart issues. I had the realization that this was when I needed to step up and take care of her not only for her sake and wellbeing but especially for my mothers. My mother is an amazing woman and has spent my entire life taking care of my grandmother and the plethora of health problems she has had, it was time for me to take over so my mom could focus a little more on her life. She is a RN Navigator at the Loma Linda Cancer Center and is currently working on her doctorate in Nursing; with everything she had going on it wasn’t fair to her to also have to take care of my grandmother by herself. When I was younger she would always tell me, “Do you want to know the secret of how I have dealt all these years? You have to remember that she may be annoying as hell, but she means well.”.
I cannot confidently say that I have fully learned the art of having patience with my grandmother. I’m not sure that I ever will, but it is something I will be working on until I am able to do it as gracefully as my mother can; if that is even possible. I believe that most of the time it is harder to learn something such as patience when you are in a situation similar to mine. I definitely do not enjoy having to change the way I handle things when it comes to my grandmother or that taking care of her takes up the majority of my life, but I would like to think that I am helping her get to the point in her life where she is actually healthy enough to get around on her own and live a happy and healthy life without having to rely on others. Most importantly I would like to believe that learning to have patience for my grandmother will help me succeed in other aspects of my life in the future; even if I don’t see it now I am determined to figure it out.