“Why are you so blue Grandma? Every time I visit you, lately, you seem sad.”

Grandma Sandy replied, “I don’t know, I have so much to be thankful for in my life. I guess it just boils down to missing Grandpa, our life together, and all the great times we had surrounding the holidays.”

Grandma Sandy went on to talk about their first Christmas together. It was just the two of them in their little rented upstairs apartment. Grandpa happened to be home on leave for the Navy. He was shipping out again so they made it count. They didn’t have a tree but she made them stockings to hang by the radiator, and cut out some paper snowflakes to put in the window. She made cookies so the apartment smelled like the Christmas she had at home. Grandma planned a nice supper for the two of them; thank goodness they lived above the deli. Her plan was to have a nice cut of baked ham and scalloped potatoes. Grandma said she managed to make a pumpkin pie, but couldn’t guarantee the crust.

They enjoyed their meal and talked about the future family they were so looking forward too. They missed each other terribly while he was out to sea even though they wrote each other often. Just knowing they had a plan when he returned to civilian life made it all bearable for both of them.

“What a nice story Grandma, thank you so much for sharing that with me.”

Grandma Sandy, said, “Of course child, but there is more. As time marched on, it has a way of doing that with or without you, our lives came into focus and started to become everything we imagined. The war was over and Grandpa had served his country. We bought a house and I was expecting your mother, our little angel, who we fittingly named Angelina. Then came Kenneth and Shane was not far behind. The house was full of life.”

“It wasn’t always easy, but we had a genuine love for each other and our family, as well as a deep faith. We celebrated birthdays and holidays. Christmas was our most celebrated holiday with food, decorations, and gifts. My, how the kids loved the anticipation of Santa. As a family, we loved setting out a plate with freshly baked cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, then we headed upstairs to read Twas’ the Night Before Christmas, until everyone was asleep.”

Oh Grandma, “I love that. It reminds me of what mom would do for us when we were younger. She carried on the traditions you created for her when she was a child.”

Grandma Sandy said with a pause, “Yes, that is exactly what we hoped our children would take with them as they entered their adult lives and futures with their families.”

Grandma Sandy lost Grandpa in the month of December a few years back. She had not fully accepted the loss because of their connection of nearly 70 years. They were high school sweethearts to the end. She was getting around okay, and was preparing for some tough decisions. She had decided to downsize and was looking for an assisted living apartment. One day she was waiting for a discussion with an assisted living about a potential move there when she met an Aging Life Care Manager® who was sitting with their senior client, waiting for a tour, as well. The Care Manager explained how she helped with recommendations for the right level of care for her clients and Grandma knew that she needed help making the right decision about where to live so she asked the Care Manager for a business card and followed up later that week. Her meetings with the care manager helped her find options to deal with grief, make decisions about downsizing and how to manage a move, as well as prepare for her long-term care needs. Grandma Sandy could not have been more blessed with making this professional connection. She was able to tell her Care Manager everything that was going on and what she felt she needed to do. She had truly met a professional who understood what was involved every step of the way. The Care Manager was actively involved by taking her to physician’s appointments, making home visits to check on her, and encouraging regular physical therapy to keep her moving.

Her memories of life with her husband and family always come flooding back to her around the holidays. She feels the joy and happiness of the season, through her family and friends, but also feels a bit empty. Some days she just wants to stay in bed because her energy is low, and she was losing weight. “Grandma Sandy, that sounds like depression,” her granddaughter commented. Her granddaughter went on to ask what she could do to help because she knew what Grandma Sandy was feeling could lead to a deep depression. She asked if there was someone she could talk to about this and Grandma Sandy said, “Yes, I know just the person. I am going to contact my Care Manager, who I know will have some ideas and who has probably helped many seniors just like me. I will call her to wish her the Merriest Christmas ever and ask if she has any suggestions on how to help me get the merry back in my Christmas.”

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at (920) 740-8441 or email us at sue@coylecaremanagement.com. We’ll be happy to assist!