Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, 
and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted; 
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; 
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; 
a time to keep, ad a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; 
a to to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

God's word brings such comfort when I feel like such a failure. On March 30, 2006, my maternal grandmother came to live with us. We were excited at the prospect of multiple generations living together under one roof. Oh the possibilities! Grandma bringing her wisdom, and her great grandchildren bringing to her a childhood that she left behind many years ago.

I envisioned long afternoons of baking, and playing games of Scrabble and Yahtzee. It was not to be, though. For the most part, Grandma spends her days tucked in her own room, reading or watching TV.  She joins us for meals and continues to stay at the table while Verne reads a chapter of Scripture to us afterward. Then back to her room she goes. 

Though I wish it were not so, I know that she feels all alone, despite living in a home full of activity. We invite her to church, and she refuses to come. We ask her to join us on outings, or to sit with us in the evenings, but she doesn't want to intrude. We've tried time and again to explain that she's part of our family and certainly isn't intruding, but she won't budge. 

I've asked myself many times over what I could do differently. I've tried approaching the situation from all angles, and have failed each time.

About 8 months ago, Grandma simply told me that old people and young people have nothing in common. 

I cried. 

I cook from scratch, but it doesn't taste like her cooking. 

I hang the laundry on the line, but it's too stiff. 

I take my children to sporting events, or music lessons, or doctor appointments, and I run too much. 

I'm not faulting Grandma. She's nearly 85, and set in her ways, but I'm exhausted. It's difficult to please everyone, and my husband and children can not and will not be neglected. 

On April 2, 2009, nearly three years to the day that she came to live with us, we'll drive Grandma to Pennsylvania where she'll reside with my parents. She's excited about going, and seems to have no ill feelings, for which I'm very thankful.

I have no regrets about bringing Grandma here in the first place. I hope and pray that we have all gained something from the experience, and take great comfort in the fact that God knows the details even when I don't. 


Danielle said...

:-( Poor Grandma is missing out. That must have been a hard decision...especially with some wonderful dreams. I would have cried too...I love old people, and thier quircky ways.

Susan said...

I can hear your pain, Tracy. God looks at and knows our Heart. You did the best you could and all you could. I'm not 85 but I am 71 and I don't agree with her. We as different generations have much to share with one another. I pray she will be happy with your parents.

Terri said...

Tracy, I'm so sorry for your pain. It's hard when you want a relationship and people don't view it the same. (((Hugs)))

jAne said...

((( tender embrace )))

... and prayer. During this bittersweet season, may our Lord envelope you in His strong arms and may you sense His presence in all things.

You're loved.


Rachel said...

Oh, Tracy, I am happy and sad for you all mixed up together. I know you will miss her and I have no doubt that she will miss you too, but I really do think that this will be the best for everyone involved! (((((HUGS)))))

Gena said...


My heart and my prayers go out to you. As you probably know, my mother lives with me and has for the past 5 years. There is no other place for her to go. She won't even go visit my brother for more than a couple of hours. Before James died, I had to "lay down the law" with her. She was putting so much stress on my relationship with my husband. She is in good health, but will do nothing.

It is sad. I am so sorry that things didn't work out. I am also so happy that your Grandma is happy about moving. I'm wishing I had some other option.

I will be thinking of you this weekend.


Mrs. Rabe said...

I am sad for your Grandma Tracy, who can't seem to see the blessing God has given to her...

You all had the right heart in it, but you can't change her - no one can only she can do it.

God knows -

I will pray that your heart will be comforted...also I must say that you are not a failure. You have done everything that God has asked you to do. You wanted to show her love.

Momma Roar said...

I pray that the seeds you've planted while she lived with you, will have a chance to bloom in her new surroundings! And I pray that your family will continue to bloom with a new sense of freedom - if I may use that word. Hugs!!

randi said...

God will use what you have sown in her heart. Sometimes it is hard to see the impact you make on people, but I am sure that you have made a great one. Your patience and kindness has been a great example of Christ's love!

Randi--i have to say

shelia said...

Bless you heart!
Why do sometimes things not work out the way we think..or that they should? But what i know if that you loved on her and that is never wasted.
She may not realize even what all she missed out on until she's in PA(maybe even longer)...then it will probably be.."we'll back at Tracey's we did....."
Blessings...shelia :)

Tracy said...

Tracy please don't take on board that which is not yours to take on. You have not failed at all. I have experienced, in my own family, generations sharing a home together for up to a few weeks at a time and everyone has enjoyed the time together as something precious to treasure.

You really can't be responsible for offering and encouraging the desire to truly be a family if she won't take up what is genuinely there for her to enjoy.

Jordin said...

I know exactly what you're going through. My grandma lived with our family growing up--she still does. She's still young (64) but she still acts like a hermit in my parents' house. We always encouraged her to do things with us, and she often refused, worried that she was intruding. When she did join us, however, she was so critical that we just ended up biting our tongues the whole time.

She still lives there, and my parents are still trying so hard to include her in everything and make her feel perfectly at home. But my grandmother is miserable. She was independent her whole life, and she has a tough time feeling like she's living with someone else's family.

I hope your grandmother finds contentment at your parents' home. It sounds like the move is the best for everyone involved, although I know you must be so disappointed. Prayers will go up for you and your grandma this evening!

Short Stop said...

This made me cry. All of it. Your heart for her, your family, how you've balanced it all with such grace. You inspire me in so many ways - but as I've seen you care for your Grandmother allwhile raising your children - that has maybe impacted me more than anything else.

I hope she will be content and happy with your parents. What a privelege to have lived in your house.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry about this, Tracy. My father is going to be 80 this year, and it's been getting more challenging over time. He still lives on his own, but I'm sort of holding my breath, as I know that he will need more care someday, and that this "someday" will come sooner than we all would like...May the Lord bless and comfort you and your family. Our Heavenly Father knows and understand all that you've gone through, and He has collected every precious tear. May the comfort He alone can offer bless and comfort you.

weavermom said...

Tracy, I'm so sorry that your Grandma has made the choice to not be part of your family the way that you were offering her. I agree with others that it is her loss, and I'm so sorry that causes you loss as well. ((HUGS)) I cannot imagine that God will say anything to you but "well done" for the way that you have not only honored, but cared for her.

I know you are at peace with this decision and feel it is God's will or you would not be doing it, but I will still pray for all of you as you transition. This is a big year for you.

Ways of Zion said...

Reading this post I felt like crying with you! May God heal you and your family, bring comfort to your hearts. Lean on Him, the everlasting rock!

Karen said...


Know that you are not a failure!

You have taught your children some valuable lessons through these years. Probably even some lessons you don't realize they've learned.

We can't control others' choices, and this "failure" you feel is really just a choice your grandma has made. God will honor your obedience and the love for her you continue to show.

I pray He will also heal your heart from the pain this has caused you.

Anonymous said...

Tracy, you could not have done more and the Lord sees your heart. Sending you ((((hugs))). xx

Abounding Treasures said...


Three years is a long time for wonderful seeds to have been sown!

You have done everything you could and I'm glad for all of you that your grandmother is happy about this impending move because this will make a painful experience, a *little* easier for all of you.

Blessings to you and all your family!

50s Housewife said...

Bless you Tracy! I'm praying for you. You did your best.

Mrs. Anna T said...

It must be so difficult, Tracy. I don't think "old people and young people have nothing in common", I'm 23 and my grandma is 93 and we always have so much to talk about when we meet... but many many old people aren't the same. Overall I'm certain you made the best and wisest decision for everyone involved.

Jennifer said...

I've been praying for you during this transition...

hope you are well!