Saturday, May 9, 2015

Generations of Thought - Or, Reflections on How to Talk to the Elderly

Letter to My Grandparents:

What I understand about you and your view on the world is as useful as your interpretation of mine. Sure, you've been here before, but you're not here now. And, yes, I'll be there one day too, but I'm not there yet. As your grandchild and future great-grandchild, we come as a package right now, I know how important it is for me to be with you at this time. No matter how much time has passed between then and now or between the two (three) of us, Life is universal. This kicking and punching fetus is as alive in me as my mother and father were in my grandmothers. Making that connection with you is so important to me. I am grateful for the years between us because they are what make this bond stronger and even more important. I hope that this kid has the privilege of growing up around you, just like I did. Thank you for your time, your lessons, and your love.

Letter to Self When I Find Out I'm A Great-Grandparent:
Don't remind your grandchild and future great-grandchild about how close you are to death every 10 minutes. This is a fact, a reality, that I am sure they are aware of, perhaps not as painfully as you, but they know it.
Your stuff is not important to your grandchild, you are. Whoever gets what after you die is irrelevant.
Try not to reveal too much information about your bathroom habits. It's true that it may become the most anticipated event of the day, but it's also true that it can be too much information.
When you say "I love you", really really feel it and mean it. Hanging baggage on those three words negates them.
Share stories about your babies and grand babies. That's the gift you have to offer.
Eat good food, go for walks every day, take care of yourself so you can share your time, your lessons, and your love as long as you are able.