A few months after my grandfather died, I began to notice that my grandmother was showing signs of depression. She was in her middle 80′s and they had been married for more than 50 years. She had also lost a life-long, dear friend not long after my grandfather’s passing. She had made a decision, in both their cases to withdraw life support. Being a mental health professional, I talked with my family about my concerns. They listened but dismissed my concerns as an over-reaction.
Finding little support for my concerns, I decided that I would start a lunch campaign. Going over once a week to sit and have lunch. Not with any specific goal in mind, just to be there. We would chat and make small talk. I was lucky enough to see my grandmother regularly so these were nice visits.
After the second or third “visit”, my Nena (pronounced Knee-naw) called my by my family name, Christy Lyn, and said: “everyone who went to my wedding is dead.” She was married in the home of her brother and his wife in a living room service, as was common in her time. The 40 or so people who attended, even the groom, had passed on. She was the sole survivor. She blew me away.
I have never forgotten that moment and what it taught me about generational perspective. The opportunity to have lunch with her was wonderful. I am grateful for Checking In with her and connecting in a way that wasn’t possible when all the family was swirling around.