Monday night I was watching CBS News, Steve Hartman’s story about 4 generations under 1 roof in India. I saw a 78 year old blind man with his wife of 57 years and his adult children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all working together to help each other. I saw a nine year old great grandchild leading this man to work, and hanging around to watch to make sure he didn’t get hurt on the machinery. Someone always making sure that everyone is safe, and fed and loved.
I couldn’t help but compare it to the American Way.
Get the parents and grandparents apartments in senior housing buildings. Pay for someone to come in to help them a couple of times a week. Sometimes it’s let the state pay through Medicaid. These days it’s Medicaid most of the time, since to keep whatever they wanted to leave to their children, they signed everything over to them first.
By all means drop in on them once a month when you’re in the area and bitch at them because all they do is sit in front of the TV. While you’re at it, complain about how busy you are raising your own families and how much of a burden your parents have become. Let the answering machine answer their calls because you just had a bad day and can’t listen to them whine right now. After all there’s nothing you can do about it, is there?
Take them home with you on Thanksgiving and Christmas, or to whatever family party they feel up to attending. Of course, you do have to put up with the smell of their adult diapers. Might be better off if you just don’t tell them about their granddaughter’s wedding or graduation party. That way nobody has to help them get cleaned up, or dressed.
I see all this, because taking care of your parents is what I do for a living. I’m there twice or more a week seeing to it that they can have the shower which will keep them from having further health problems. I’m doing their laundry, I’m changing their sheets so that they don’t have to sleep in a wet bed because they had an accident.
I’m being paid through Medicaid, you know? That WELFARE that you keep saying is costing you too much in taxes? I’m there because you refuse to be. In 20 or 30 years time, you too will be in the same shoes your parent is in now. YOU will be the one that is shoved into someplace where you can be taken care of by anyone else except the children you are now raising. Remember this, because they will do to you exactly what they see you doing to your own parent.
Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and a child of yours will truly understand what Christian Kindness is all about. Maybe they will do the right thing and take you into their home where you can live out your life safe and fed and loved. If you do get that lucky, get down on your knees and bless whatever motivated them to do this for you, because they sure didn’t learn it from you.