The Deceit of My Loving Family | Teen Ink

The Deceit of My Loving Family

October 25, 2007
By Anonymous

The Deceit of My Loving Family
My name is Mrs. Katherine Guiff Hardin. Born and raised in Virginia, I consider myself a true southerner. My youngest grandchild likes to tease me about my accent. She says I call her “Emuhlih Ayunn” instead of “Emily Ann” and the second youngest, of the same age, “Laowlah” instead of “Law-ler,” as she explains it, slowly enough for me to pick up that she doesn’t approve of my southern drawl. I love my family dearly! Three beautiful daughters each with two children: two handsome boys and four charming girls (all six of them are trouble you know - ever since they were in diapers). I’m no ordinary grandmother though, no. I’ve been to Bush Gardens, Playland, Disney World and Disney Land (numerous times because my eldest daughter lives in Pasadena, California which is only an hour from Disney if the traffic is not horrendous) with my family and I love roller coasters. I’m “cool.”
My girls can con me into doing most anything and the grandkids are learning how to smooth talk their Ge too. “Ge” is what my eldest grandchild always called me and now that’s what most young people call me. Its cute isn’t it? Just like me. Anyway, I’m pretty easy when it comes to what makes my family happy. An American Girl doll, a remote toy car, a new mink coat, or a Kitchen-Aid blender, these are a few things “Santa” has to buy this year. But one thing Santa will not be bringing me is a condominium in a nursing home! Yes, my family says they would feel much better with me in a nursing home. My husband Mark died just a few months ago from complications with lung cancer (he started smoking when he was fifteen - why quit after sixty-four years?) and so now I’m at home alone. They are worried about me because my house is big and beautiful. They say it has too many steps and my marble bathroom is too slippery. I say bah humbug! I, Katherine Hardin, will not be subject to such a place by my own children… and even grandchildren!
How could I go to a nursing home? Really. Are you serious? I’ve heard stories at the hair salon, I have. I’ve had nightmares in the past about this, been in bed for four hours before falling asleep, and not just because of my new prescription either. Can you imagine me in a nursing home? Bingo every Tuesday and Thursday. I love Bingo; in fact I play it all the time on cruise ships, which I also love dearly. But that much Bingo would be too much tension for old Ge to take for the rest of her life. Hold on one moment will you… alright… my eldest grandchild just told me to stop calling it a nursing home. Apparently I’m wrong and it is “assisted living.” Well excuse me. The way I see it, both words mean that I will move out of my house into a place where there are people, and I’m not alone with my cat Princess Grace.
The place my family is looking at seems dreadful. My daughters say, “all the senior citizens,” those girls just wait, one day they’ll be my age, “have their own apartment or condo, and of course we will get you a condo with several rooms and move in all your favorite furniture and paintings.” I admit that I only use one-forth of my home anyway, the rest is for the family. But why should I go to an assisted living club with a well-trimmed 18-hole golf course, six tennis courts, and three indoor squash courts? I don’t play sports, in fact I never learned to swim. They also have a lap pool for those who enjoy getting their exercise by swimming, or who like to tan like they did as kids. I prefer intellectual exercise, but my girls say I need to stay in shape so I won’t end up in a wheelchair. They agree with me that wheelchairs are demoralizing to those blessed by God with the ability to walk. Apparently they can get a personal trainer come to my house and help me become stronger and more balanced. Like I said, intellectual exercise is so much more pleasing. I like to play scrabble with my daughters when they come for holidays. I don’t think I would be able to play it every day with my future girlfriends, we might get tired of it and have to get hooked on another game. I like poker. Texas-hold-‘em is what folks like to play there. That’s fine with me.
When I talked to my girlfriends at the salon they said they heard that nursing homes, assisted living homes rather, don’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. Now, that just seems like too much freedom to the girls and me. There’s no forced knitting or quilting time, which is good because I don’t like working with my hands like that anymore. My eldest grandchild says its like living in a resort and that she wants to sign up with me. She’s always been a joker you know. I don’t see why she or anyone else would volunteer to sign up for such a place. I don’t care if you get your money’s worth, that isn’t important to me. It might be hard to live in a space where I can call the front desk and get whatever I need, I might stop relying on myself for things. I can’t imagine having to choose among four different restaurants to eat at or order in from. Nor can I imagine having a dry cleaning service in the next building over. In May, the senior committee, run by members of the club, is planning a trip to Nashville. I sure do love it there. I love to travel and there are just too many opportunities for that there, I would go on every trip and never be home to see my kitty. Like I said, I could never live in a nursing home where there are so many things to do. No one deserves the attention employees give there. It would spoil even the most spoiled of people, like me.
My family has given me a second choice if I refuse to go. They said they could get someone to rent my upstairs apartment, someone who would help me run errands or do any chores around the house. I say: Only if they clean silver! The girls say they could at least get me a driver, but I don’t want to be like Driving Miss Daisy. I say, he better be handsome and charming. One moment please… well… my eldest grandchild just told me that there are people who would clean my home and my silver at the club. And apparently they have a car and driver that takes members on errands. So either way, the girls’ second option for me, if I refuse the assisted living center, is still too crippling and gives me too much attention. But, it seems that the assisted living center might allow me to be too independent, and that’s just not what I would want to be paying for. I spend my money on good service. Like I said, no one should have to spend her money to live with such attention and independence when living alone in a big house is becoming overly stressful for the family.

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