When working at Target several years ago as a cashier, a couple came in to buy a large pack of diapers and as they were checking out they told me, in a sarcastic and bothered kind of way, how they could not believe they were still buying diapers for their 7 year old daughter. I asked about their daughter and they told me she had some issues with some sort of disability, and I told them not to feel too bad because I was still buying diapers for my 11 year old son and that I would be buying them forever. “Oh”, they said, all of a sudden being grateful that their daughter’s issues were just temporary.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, there is always, always, always, someone in worse situations than you. This does not mean you can’t complain or be bothered or vent sometimes, but if there is one piece of advice I could give you is to make sure you pay attention to who you are complaining to. Would you complain about your shoes to a man with no feet? Would you complain about your labor and delivery to a woman who suffers from infertility? Would you complain about your mom to someone who just had to bury theirs?
My aunt, bless her heart, took care of my grandma until the day she died when she was almost 102 years old. Every morning my dad would drive up to their place to help her get their day started, she also had the upstairs neighbors who would come over daily to help her with whatever she needed, she also had her best friend come over every day to help with dinner, chores, or whatever she needed that day. On Sundays, however, busy with church and/or other family related engagements, my dad, the neighbors and friend were busy taking care, helping or spend time with the many other family members, sons and daughters, grandchildren and the like. My grandma passed away 8 years ago and just last summer when I was visiting my family in Italy, my aunt was crying over the fact that nobody ever helped her on Sunday. As I was listening to her, I could not help but wondering if she knew who she was complaining to, about something that had been over for 7 years nonetheless. So, as gently as I could say it, I asked her “Do you know what day of the week I have nobody helping me?”. She looked at me with an inquisitive look and was not sure where I was going with this. “No” was her answer. To that I replied: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday”.
What saddens me and hurts me more than anything is the fact that she had no idea how bad Nicky is, that I have to do it all without any help, she never asked me how I handled it all, and she didn’t know because, unlike her, I did not complain to her about it. At least before my husband had his strokes he could help me with many things and take care of stuff, but now for the past 4 years not only I have to take care of Nicky, which has gotten harder, but I have to do many things to help my husband and let’s not forget Connor is still only 9 years old. Nicky’s dad takes care of him every other weekend, and he does change his bandages, but beside that I do it all and I try not to complain about it because I don’t want to feed the negativity and hopelessness of my situation. Sure, I have my moments, my instants of deep despair, but I know how important and what a forceful influence in our lives the word Hope and Happiness are, how important it is to find the silver lining, the bright side, being positive can give us a reason to go on and more forward. I don’t want to feed into depression and fall into the abyss, I wake up every day finding, searching for a reason to be happy, a reason to sing.
My grandmother’s whistles come to mind… she used to whistle excessively When I asked her once why she whistled so much she told me “It makes me happy”. Cheers to you Nonna! I miss you!