Anyone who has read here for some time knows there are major issues between me and my daughter at times. For those who are new, I will summarize. For reasons unknown to me, my daughter has held me at “arm’s length” since she went to college. Actually, it has been further than that at times, if truth be told. I don’t know if she holds me responsible for divorcing her dad when she was seven. Or perhaps there is another reason.
Whatever the cause, she has been distant for many years. She has not acknowledged me at Mother’s Day or my birthday. She has been rude and hurtful with the things she says.
I have taken solace in the fact that I am the only one she treats that way. In all other aspects of her life, she is a kind, compassionate young woman. She helps everyone she can. She is not a saint but she is a good person. So I know I did something right and set a good example when she was young.
Right now she is proving to me that I did, indeed, teach her well. I have never been as proud of her as I am today.
My stepdad, the only grandfather my daughter has known well in her life, is dying of esophageal cancer. At 85 years old, he endured 30 daily radiation treatments (for reasons that are not clear, medically) but those treatments have done nothing. He is dying. In fact, he will be unlikely to live another week, although those kinds of predictions are often wrong.
Grampa had been in the Transitional Care Unit of the local hospital while he was undergoing the radiation treatments. He is fed only with a feeding tube. The cancer has spread to one lung. He has lost probably half his weight. But the insurance he has, Fallon Community Health Plan for Seniors, decided in their wisdom that he was ready to go home. So they told him he had one week to make arrangements to do just that.
They did not visit the home they said he could go to. They did not see the steep stairway of 20 stairs needed to get in and out of the living quarters above the business. Grampa lives on Social Security and Veteran’s benefits. All his money earned went back into his screen printing business and the home. He has no significant savings. The house was his savings account. Both he and my late mother refused to take a reverse mortgage on it although that might have allowed them to live in greater comfort in their later years. That means Grampa has no way to afford medical care in a hospital after the Fallon says they will not pay. He cannot afford even hospice care in a hospital setting.
My daughter has offered to provide hospice care to her dying grandfather. Since she is currently unemployed, she told him she would help take care of him. She located an apartment through a friend. She arranged for another friend, who is in school training to do hospice work, to split the days with her. She made the arrangements with the support team of home health care workers and all the equipment that was needed. She learned how to manage the feeding tube. She administers all the medications. She cleans her grandfather when he does not make the bathroom or when he sweats through his clothing. She talks to him in a loving and strong way. She strokes his head to help him relax when the pain flares up.
I have never seen my daughter exhibit more loving behavior. I have never seen my daughter maintain her composure in such a stressful situation — a totally unfamiliar situation.
I have never been more proud of my daughter than I am right now.
I guess I did something right.