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I Wish I Had Cared More for My Sick Grandma

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 08, 2017

Question

My grandmother died two years ago. She was going through dementia. She forgot everything. It was my responsibility to take care of her at night during holidays. I had to carry her to the washroom after every two hours, an hour, half an hour or even after 15 min (sometimes). Sometimes I would get irritated but then I would tell myself that it is good to take care of her because she is old and weak plus she loved me and I loved her too. Sometimes I felt enjoyed looking after her. One night I was with grandmother in washroom helping her. She was annoyed so she held me tightly or hit me I don't remember but I reacted quickly and hit her. I cried a lot after that as I never intended that. I respected her but it was extreme to hit her. I wanted to apologize to her but I guess she does not really remember but she loved me after that too. Once she wanted to go to the washroom, but I was sleeping and did not wake up. She fell from the bed. Then we used to clean her and change her pamper. But her condition was getting worse day by day. She was suffering in last days. She was in pain because of bed sole. I want her to forgive me and come to my dream and tell me that she forgave me. Because I could do more to ease her but I didn't.

Counselor

Answer


I Wish I Had Cared More for My Sick Grandma

In this counseling answer:

“Please sister, give yourself room to be human. Make a list of all the things you did to help your grandmother. Then make a list of the few times you did not or could not be of the few times you fell short. You will see in sha’ Allah that you did the best you could, and the few times you became irritated or slept was because you were exhausted as from the human condition. Just ask Allah (swt) to forgive you sister for these times because your grandmother knew you were sorry. She knew you loved her dearly and she loved you too.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I am so sad to hear that your grandmother had dementia and that she passed away. May Allah (swt) forgive her and grant her Jannah. In sha’ Allah.

It sounds as if your grandmother had a good life and was dearly loved. It is very evident by your question that you loved her so much, sister. You did the best you could to take care of her. It sounds as if you did a wonderful job.

While the few times you lost patience or perhaps reacted too quickly out of defense mode, if she did hit you and you hit her, it was not right. I feel the deep regret in your letter to us. I don’t even know you and I feel your sorrow regret and love for your grandmother. If I can feel it – a stranger – you can be sure that your grandmother knew and felt your regret as well. That is why she kept smiling because she knew you were taking care of her the best you could. She knew you loved her.

Sister, often times when loved ones are ill and need intensive care, it can be extremely stressful on families. Families usually do the best they can in these situations, but they are human and fatigue sets in. You must have been very exhausted that morning in which you slept after Fajr and she needed your help and fell.

Please sister, give yourself room to be human. Make a list of all the things you did to help your grandmother, not only from a young child on up but especially during her illness. Then make a list of the few times you did not or could not be of the few times you fell short. You will see in sha’ Allah that you did the best you could, and the few times you became irritated or slept was because you were exhausted as from the human condition. Just ask Allah (swt) to forgive you sister for these times because your grandmother knew you were sorry.

Your grandmother knew you loved her and you were doing the best you could. Even though she had dementia, she felt your love in her spirit and soul. She watched you grow up probably. She knows your heart. Even though the illness often takes memory, it apparently did not take her heart or her spirit as she kept telling you she was sorry, she was smiling at you and overall showing her love as best as she could.

I would kindly suggest that you look back upon these times of your taking care of her as a blessing. Despite the few times, you could not respond to her needs in a positive way, overall you were in it for the long run, taking good care of and loving your grandmother. She knew this, sister.

The signs you are looking for have already been given to you – they have already passed. They were in her smile, in her grip, in her eyes, and in her words. She was trying to tell you than when she was alive that she understood, that she forgives and that she knows you love her – and she loves you too.

What is left, sister is to ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness. Forgive yourself and focus on the good memories with your grandmother before she got sick as well as those loving moments or even funny ones you shared during her illness. I have a feeling that she may have wanted you to remember her and the ending journey in this way.

We wish you the best, sister.

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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