Back At It

So, after leaving Madrid for the UK and worrying myself sick over the flight, and all the messing about that is associated with flying in this time of paranoia. I am once again returned to Madrid; my week away gone all too quickly.

Getting myself back into the routine of life here in Madrid is proving a little difficult, although I know I have only in theory really been back a few hours.

What is making the settling back down harder is the fact that this time I stayed at my parent’s house. I am a person who is used to and likes time alone, but I didn’t get much of this back in the UK. So, now I have become accustomed to having people that love me around me more frequently, and I am used to talking about things with them throughout the day.  Plus, I have become a little too reliant (and enjoyed) my families home cooking – so I feel I was spoilt whilst there.

Yet, it isn’t just that.

My Grandmother (Nanna) was taken into hospital the second day I was back. She had fallen and broken her hip and thigh bones. I was immediately struck with shock and worry. I knew that if she had to undergo an operation she might not survive it. My Nanna is 81 in April, and she has never before had an operation (nor general aesthetic).

Yet, regardless of this my Nanna came through a lengthy op to wake and discover she had titanium extras in place of her broken bones. Relief, well, yes, I felt over the moon all was well. My Nanna and I are very close, and I love her dearly.

However, I am left wondering how well the after-care will be now. I am not there to witness this. I told her before I left her on Sunday that if I hear of any problems I will not hesitate to return back to the UK, and ensure any wrong doing is rectified, and any mistreatment is punished. After writing previously about the shocking NHS standards, I am under no illusion that they are perfect. How these people are able to treat or mistreat older people in their care is grotesque.

I also wonder if now my Nanna will actually receive more ‘professional’ help about the house, or even be entitled to some welfare benefits. Currently she gets nothing at all, she survives on her pension, which after scrimping and saving towards for over 40 years, has become a meagre amount. My Nanna still pays her way and even is taxed on her pension, after working all her life, she still has nothing for free. It infuriates me, when there are others who receive more in benefits than she does in pension, and they do have plenty for nothing.

This idea that the elderly are rolling around in money they all stuff under their mattresses is ridiculous. Yet, even if they are ‘well off’ at least they have worked for it – a generation of people who had to work for it, otherwise they’d receive nothing.  They didn’t expect anything to be handed to them on a platter, and the world didn’t owe them a living like most of today’s generation believes. These people strived and struggled to have security in their later years (a good pension), and yet many of these people aren’t even receiving that little luxury.

The other thing I had been questioning was myself.

A friend of mine was happy enough to lay the guilt trip on me, during these initial few days of extreme worry. She believes herself to be ‘Mother Teresa’. Her Father was dying and she felt compelled to ‘care’ for him, though she has children and a husband. I say ‘care’, but in theory he passed away, which they knew he would, before any real care could transpire. The care that involves 24/7 support didn’t come to fruition; the washing, dressing, lifting the person, toileting the person, housework, shopping, preparation of meals, feeding them, dealing with he household bills and so on and so on.

My friends ‘care’ of her Father consisted of taking her Dad out for day trips, sitting and talking to him, reminiscing and offering comfort, having a drink with him, putting his affairs in order and that was that.

I wonder how she would have felt in an alternate situation whereby she had to suspended her life with her family to really care for her Dad?

I know I am no martyr to the cause; I am inherently selfish. I knew when it all came down I couldn’t say I would sacrifice myself and life to care for my Nanna. Am I brave or stupid to even acknowledge such limitations; who can tell.

I have always thought professional care would be the better option, as they are supposed to know what they are doing. I don’t mean I would abandon anyone to their fate in the hands of strangers, but I couldn’t be as proficient as trained carers would be. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

My life too is no longer in the UK, so that alone poses a major barrier. I couldn’t say goodbye to my ties here, and return to care for my Nanna. Not that she expects that of me; she wants me to live my life and is happy for me. Yet, see what doubts are implanted from a few unthoughtful words from a friend.

I doubted myself, and still do – what am I worth if I can’t give back to a person I love? I feel like a shitty human being, but this isn’t helping. I mean having these thoughts during a time when all I needed to think about was whether my Nanna would actually live through the operation and trauma, it just added distress.

Why did my friend think it was OK to upset the apple cart even more, with her few words of ‘wisdom’ on the matter of caring for a relative?

What was she thinking?

A friend who thought I shouldn’t return to my life in Madrid. A friend willing to add insult to injury, and stress to an already stressful situation. A friend who judged me when I needed her, who threw back in my face all my impartial support of her through her Father’s illness and ensuing death.

All because I wouldn’t bow to her ‘ideal’ of what a person, a relative should do.

So now I am back in Madrid with threads left in the UK, which aren’t tied up into neat pretty bows.

I suppose I shall have to find a way to square all this, or face feeling a juxtaposition with everything I have here.


19 thoughts on “Back At It

  1. Hey Bex, just be happy for the time you spend with your loved ones. The last thing they want is to burden you. Just make sure she’s in good hands, and if you believe that a professional can take better care of her, I would tend to agree with you.

    • Hi NicoLite,
      Thank you for that considered response, I appreciate it. I know, and agree – my Nanna wouldn’t want to do that. I think for now I just have to wait and see. It makes it hard, but being away from her it is all I can do.
      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

  2. So many thoughts here. I feel for you. I know my father will never move here and I already have a guilt trip about what is to come as he ages as I am an only child now. Guilt trips are something I fight every day. I find solace in Buddhist teachings about focusing on going forward, not backward. And accepting yourself and limitations and finding peace. As far as your friend,I truly believe that such comments are solely based on her own insecurities which she is projecting on you. And I find it helpful to find a way to feel actual sympathy for someone who must resort to that to make themselves feel better. Who knows what’s going on under her hood, so to speak. My guess is your engine is running more smoothly.

    On a selfish note, Madrid is on my bucket list and I might get an opportunity to go this May. Fingers crossed. May have to hit you up for sights to see. Sorry for such a lengthy comment!

    • Hey, thank you for your comment (which I enjoy receiving and reading, regarding of how long it is or isn’t). I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and input, and indeed welcome your feedback.
      I love what you have ‘said’ here – completely feel it is something to think about and take on board.
      I too, wondered why she was so quick to point the finger, and feel it was her own issues and not my failings to blame.
      There are complexities with the situation I face, and I think I just have to come to terms with it all as best as I can. Or, face being driven crazy by them.
      Thanks again for your empathetic approach here, appreciate it (truly)!
      Oh, of course, by all means – I’d love to let you know more about Madrid. I have other posts too, in the Madrid section of my blog. Lots of info there.
      Bex 🙂

  3. It is important to do whatever we do with honest motives. If we need to prove our love by sacrificing self, we show no true understanding of the limited nature of our humanity. We cannot be supermen, superwomen. We cannot save anyone or bear the pain of another. Duty is a word used to manipulate, shame, and guilt people into doing something. It is also ridiculous to impose expectations on another person. You do not answer to your friend for your life. Neither should you copy a person who is taking pride in her own sacrifices. Most times, when love motivates our generosity, we are able to kept our good deeds to ourselves.

    • Hey Julie, thank you for this profound and considered response. I am completely moved by what you have ‘said’ here. .
      “Most times, when love motivates our generosity, we are able to kept our good deeds to ourselves” – what a wonderful way to put it, and so true.
      I could never claim to be a saint, but by following my path I am not a sinner either, and I know and my Nanna knows I love her. This is all that counts, and sure enough others still have to intervene with their measurement of ‘love’ and ‘care’. I for one don’t do such things,who am I to judge another’s sentiments and motivations, when I am flawed too!
      Thanks once again Julie; I sincerely appreciate your words and input.
      Bex 🙂

  4. Welcome back!!! I’ve witnessed and worked with elderly folks who have had surgery on their hips. I’m sure will come through the whole process like a champ. Wishing your nanna a speedy recover!!! I think your friend was just plain rude. She didnt understand that what worked for her, doesnt work for you.

    • Thank you for the welcome back, appreciate it 🙂
      Thanks to for the well wishing too; my Nanna seems to be on the road to mending well already, thankfully.
      Yes, I think she didn’t quite get that – which made me quite sad actually.
      Thanks again,

  5. Truth be said, and IMHO, your friend should keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. You live in another country for Christ’s sake! There is no way on earth you should be feeling guilty because a “friend did take care of her daddy”. I took care of my grandma, THE RIGHT WAY, until her death, but I lived in the same house!

    You love her! You worry about her! You do take care of her however and whenever you can! Professional care is unbeatable and pretty much needed. Not every elderly person is as fortunate as your granny is. Do you know how many people neglect their parents? You should be proud and not the other way around.

    Blessings, little one! 😀

    • Oh thank you so much for your truly kind and empathetic response; I cannot express how much this means to me.
      Having your words of support, encouragement, understanding and kindness is a gift!
      Thank you too for sharing a little of your own experiences on this. I am extremely grateful for your input valentina.
      Yes, I do care for and love her dearly, and have tried what I can to be there and help, when I am there. It is so difficult to know I’m not there, and yes, I too wished my friend had not expressed such negative thoughts. I had doubts enough.
      Thank you once again for your sincere and heartfelt words.
      Blessings to you too 😀

  6. Let me be the first to welcome you back! I am going to come back later and write a lengthier response because you said a lot I want to comment on (I have to get ready to go to work now).

    • Waaaaa, I forgot to come back last night. 😥
      I want to talk about your friend, because here in Utah an attitude like this permeates amongst the people. Often times people here think there is only one right or proper way to do something.

      The reality is that there are various ways to accomplish anything in life. I think your friend has good intentions and might not realize she is laying the guilt trip (or she might). But it sounds to me that you’re doing the best thing you can. Taking care of someone requires a lot of work and I doubt your Nana’s pension could provide for both of you. You have to support yourself and leaving her in the hands of qualified people to assist her sounds to me like the right decision. Not being there every second of the day doesn’t mean you don’t love her. I hope your friend comes to understand where you are coming from.

      And my oh my you have been busy today. Lot’s of good posts to go comment on! :mrgreen:

      • Hey, thank you for your response! I was hoping to hear back from you. I appreciate, as always what you have to ‘say’!!!
        Yes, it is that way where I originate from too – and consequently people feel free to judge and pass comment on things they know nothing about 😦
        I hope she didn’t realise, and spoke before she thought – which is likely, but at the time I was hurt, as I was hurting.
        I don’t hold a grudge though – it has passed.
        Yes, that is true – love isn’t quantified in time spent with someone. I feel that, but also feel pulled to be there and can’t settle 100%
        Oh, well I wrote a lot in the UK – I had so many thoughts! I hope to have your opinions, as I wondered if I had been deserted by people from being away too long 😦
        Anyway, thanks for your input, and I can see what you mean 100%
        Bex 🙂

Leave me your comments please, you know you want to!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s