You MUST Love Your Elders!

You MUST Love Your Elders!

My grandmother and grandfather having a disagreement years ago about where they should go for dinner. Gramp says ” Pat , you just said you wanted to go to Wendy’s for the senior special”. Grandma responds ” Well I changed my mind now get my coat! ” Gramp ( as he walks toward closet) ” I’m not getting your coat until you make up your mind” – Grandma ( with her back to gramp brushing her hair ) ” John, quit fussing we will be late for the senior discount” – Gramp ( taking her coat off hanger)- ” Ok fine.,, You know now that you are 80 I should trade you in for a couple of 40’s…”— Grandma ( laughing) ” Oh really? And what would you do with them?” (laughs out loud)- End of argument…

That’s a memory that sticks in my head from when I was a young man sitting in my grandparents living room waiting for them to take me out to eat. That was their type of arguing. As a matter of fact, that was about as bad as it got for those two. Married 58 years and in love until the day they dies. My grandmother prayed all of her life that she would die before her John so she wouldn’t have to live without him. Gramps worked for the same company for 50 years, and after about 25 years, he got a nice bonus each year. He spent it the same way every year. He told my grandma to pick 2 of her friends and he sent the 3 on a cruise to some exotic place, just so she could have some time with the friends that she had to leave behind when they married and moved. Until the day they went to heaven, grandma had about 25 old fashioned picture albums with the fold out plastic covers stacked under their dining room table, one for each year she took her friends on a cruise. It was a memory for both of them; a reminder of how much they meant to each other.
They retired and enjoyed golf 3x per week, bowling 2 nights per week and times around the organ listening while gramps played on the other nights. I was often around just hoping gramp would take me bowling with him, or golfing. I just wanted to hang out with him.
When we got home from whatever we were doing, grandma always had something ready for us to eat like chicken and dumplings or another great meal.
I was in my early 20’s when they passed on. Grandma got her wish in a sense, as gramp died first but she lost her memory right around that time. Whenever she asked where he was, I just said ” Oh he must be painting ” and she continued with what she was doing. I still think she knew somehow though, because it wasn’t very long after that she fell ill and passed away.

What a life they had. I mean they weren’t wealthy but they had enough. They were so in love even after , well especially after 50 years that it was astonishing. While the rest of the world was divorcing they were finding something special to do together. The money they did have saved they burned through it little by little on things they felt like doing. Just the way it should be. Everyone was happy about that except their only son; he was a little upset that their lives were outlasting their money. He seemed to have based his entire life on their dying and leaving him the stocks that he knew they had accumulated over 50 years on the same job.

Gramp has written hundreds of checks to him over the years to help him out and buy a car here and there, but he wasn’t about to let hos bride be deprived in their retirement so he treated her like a queen. They were very much in love.
After gramps funeral , daddy-o came a runnin to their house to begin the search for the stock certificates. The couches were tore up, the pillows ripped apart and the clothing in the closet shredded- he was on a mission to get what he thought was his. Well it turns out that gramp did have a little something tucked away for him. It was at dads last stop, gramps bank. Dad was sure that the safe deposit box was full of those stocks. Instead he found 3 metal boxes. As he opened each one, he found hundreds of neatly stacked canceled checks all made out to himself…from the last few decades. That was his inheritance.
Gramp sure got the last word on that one!
I write all this to paint a picture of two people that shaped my views of life and continue to make an impact on me and my decisions. I respected them and I showed it.

Today I have noticed that there does not seem to be any respect for elders, just verbal abuse and irreverence. Its hard for me to watch because I never even thought about being disrespectful to my grandparents. For one thing, they commanded respect in everything they did. You could not poke any holes in their lives because they lived honorable lives. You had to respect them. However even if they lived terrible lives, I knew it was my job to respect them.

I had my little jokes about them (lol) gramps mainly. For example my brother in- law and I many times played golf with gramp when he was getting up there in years. It was not uncommon for gramp to hit the ball 6 or 7 times just to get to the hole and then proudly yell over to us, ” That’s a 4!” That always made our day, but we would never disrespect or embarrass him by questioning his score. We just didn’t. Period.

Oh, and you may have noticed the picture I added here with the elderly man driving . That’s another memory I have of gramp- the old ” its green so I better slow down move” – It used to make me crazy and all the drivers behind us too. I would glance at gramp driving and I couldn’t bring myself to say anything because to him it would meant disrespect. Besides that I still wonder if maybe he didn’t do that on purpose just to hear the cars behind him honk! LOL!

I don’t see much respect being offered in todays world and its a shame to see the way people disrespect the elderly. Maybe sometimes we feel they don’t deserve it. That’s not our call though-so lets just err on the side of respect. Show an elderly person that you appreciate that they have made it this far in life. Tell them they look nice, offer to hold a door. If you must, nod your head when they yell ” that’s a 4 ” on the golf course. It may be the last 4 they get to call out, so let it count.

tj- DLMK

Author: (Don't Label My Kid! Coaching & Counseling Team)

Social Worker- Mental Health, Addictions, and Behavioral health- Leadership Educator-, Juvenile Justice. A variety of coaching. I have a great desire to help others make it through times that I myself have had to navigate. I understand the process, the pain,and the support needed. I, and the rest of my team all have both the formal education to coach others but more importantly we also have the life experience which allows us to relate to all the phases and hurdles that come with recovering from issues like depression, addiction, domestic violence, spiritual confusion, and much more. I feel that the combination of formal training and life experience allows us to meet those we help every point of need- in a real way.

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