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Some People Have Real Problems

On occasion, we have to step back for a moment to gain perspective.  That is a lesson I learned over and over from my grandparents.  Through the years, they went through several trials and tribulations, but always had good perspective about them.


May I share a story with you?


My grandmother experienced a lot of challenges in her 96 years, including losing her four brothers, my grandfather and all three of her children. But somehow, when it was all over, she came out the other side with hope, though she felt the loses mounting up.


One battle that she and I fought together was to keep her out of the nursing home - - a battle that we won for all but 50 days of her life.  At that stage, at 96, she was moved to a long term facility.  I was heartbroken and disappointed.


I could tell that Mamaw was dispirited, and I was probably struggling with the fear that we were at the end. 


When I went to visit her one afternoon, she was sitting on a couch in a common area.  I sat beside her and we talked quietly.


“Betty”, a longtime resident with advanced dementia, walked up and began talking with us.  It was gibberish.  My grandmother, ever the southern gentlewoman, responded as best she could.  I don’t remember now what all Mamaw said, but I recall her saying to Betty, “Honey, I hope everything will be okay.”  Betty, smiling, moved on to share with someone else.


I remember this moment as if it was yesterday.  I think I was a little bit in shock at what was going on around my grandmother, who was completely cognitive.  Mamaw, instead, leaned over to me and whispered, “Honey, some of the people here have real problems.  I feel so sorry for Betty.”


It was just like my grandmother – able to step back; able to appreciate what she had and where she was and what life had given to her.  In retrospect, I understand now that my grandmother knew she was dying, and she did in fact die within a week or two of this incident.  But she still had empathy, compassion, and time for Betty.


When events in life seem to overwhelm me, sometimes I retreat to a quiet place and often I think of the lessons of my grandparents - - take time to gain perspective. 


I hope when life seems to overwhelm you, you can step back into a quiet place, and take time to gain perspective.


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