Gray Matter is a given, everyone knows about the brain. However, as I sit in my new life as a “Club Sandwich” generational daughter, being a parent to my elderly mother, having grown children and helping with my grandchildren I find days asking does ‘Gray Matter?”
I was raised not to speak back to my elders, that those older people in life had achieved status in knowledge and respect and being “gray” was attaining something meaningful. Okay, Sean Connery aside (he makes gray an art form) that just isn’t the case anymore. I think I have worked harder, had less emotional happiness and experienced more difficulty than at any point in my life since hitting forty and into fifty. Gray does not matter.
Having had my mother in a health care facility (fancy name for nursing home) after a brain injury this past year, I witnessed out and out disrespect and ignorance at her expense. I can tell you if she was a hot blond that would not have happened! However, she is gray and frail and it is only to her family she matters. Don’t get me wrong there were some care givers that were wonderful; obviously they are in the medical field they wanted to be and not just for a paycheck. However, just in speaking with me I didn’t matter either, I was a fifty year-old obstacle in the path.
I went to the doctor myself recently and was amazed as my physician had lost almost 100 pounds and had a shock of short blond hair. I asked her if she was on the Entertainment Tonight diet and she said no I am on the here is your grandson raise him plan. She told me how she would have never thought of leaving her children with her aging mother and yet here she was late in middle age raising a toddler and falling into a heap at the end of the day after working a full day when she could. Even if the hair was dyed it still was gray and she mattered, but not to the opinion of her child, she was just an ends to the means of her own self survival and gratification.
So as a club sandwich, without meat please – I have more on my plate than I did as a young adult ready to begin life with all the energy and hope I was allowed. Those were the days working 90 hour weeks, chasing after babies and trying to be a wife, daughter and mother. Now with minimal energy, even less money and physical strength below where it should be I get to have 90 hour work weeks, take care of an elderly parent knowing the day will come when I won’t be able to wake her up in our home and watch the delights of a grandchild running for the stairs and spitting back food they are done trying to eat. Through all those gray areas I keep praying to myself “I matter.”