“I have your back, Grandma”
“Yes, you have tact. Always have – ever since you were a little boy.”
“Grandma, listen, I’ll take care of you.”
“You? What can you do? Oh, goodness, no Jason. I’m fine and can manage quite nicely. Did I tell you I went strawberry picking last weekend?”
“Yes you did, but I wanted you to know that I’ll be there for you.”
Grandma walked over to the kitchen counter and Jason watched as she re-arranged some tomatoes in a bowl with one hand and quietly wiped her eye with the other.
“Love you Grandma.”
I wrote this story in response to August 12, 2015 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who is called to have the back of another.
I believe that we could all use a personal advocate who will speak for us at different times in our lives. Someone who understands us, listens to our concerns and makes sure our voice is heard by the professionals. Someone whose focus is solely on us to secure the quality of care we seek.
In my story, I used the example of a single elderly woman who is alone. She deflects conversations to hide her fears about the future – the same fear I’ve noticed in the eyes of many elderly. It’s the fear of losing control of their lives, of not being able to find someone trustworthy to help them manage all the pieces when they are least able to.
Stepping up and being a personal advocate for someone is something we do from compassion, from love. It is not an easy job, but what I know is that while I was the personal advocate for my father-in-law, his gratitude was straight from his heart – deep and lasting. It made all my time and effort worthwhile.