A Little Gratitude Goes a Long Way!
Being grateful doesn’t mean you have to run around screaming thank-you, although that does work. Being grateful means you should appreciate the good things, people, and experiences in your life.
As I said in a recent post my husband and I have been tending to his mother who had a small stroke. She is extremely lucky, even though she doesn’t see that. She was only in the hospital for a week and if she allows herself some recovery time she is going to come out of this better than 98% of the other stroke victims out there.
She’s not perfect yet, but she’s acting like she is! She went home the day before yesterday and we stayed with her for a night to make sure she was okay. We learned that she wasn’t.
Without telling you the WHOLE story I will just say that she is wobbly and off balance. She is at high risk for falling in our opinion, and she has twenty narrow stairs that go upstairs and twenty that go downstairs. She was not supposed to use them but she went charging up there an hour after she got home.
The point to this article is not about her health and walking issues, it’s about her gratitude. She has been nothing but miserable throughout this whole process. You may say “Hey! She had a stroke!” but I’m telling you that the neighbors in her hospital room were counting their blessings while she complained.
She doesn’t realize that she could have been severely affected by this and never been able to walk again. It’s possible to never go home again at her age after a stroke. It’s possible to die. Yet, she complains that she has to recover for a few days. She is not grateful for the fact that she escaped something more serious.
She complained to anyone who would listen about her situation, even the woman who was worse off next to her, and her favorite saying was “I want to go home!” She has a heavy Italian accent so no one can understand her, and she has such a whine (victim tone) to every word that comes out of her mouth, that everyone thought the stroke had affected her speech – but we knew that is just how she has always spoken.
But not being grateful for her health was not supposed to be what this post is about. This post is about how she wasn’t grateful for the care she received.
She never thanked anyone. She just complained. More to the point for me, she never thanked my husband or me. She never showed any sign of gratitude towards us even though we were there for her every single day and did everything we could to make her comfortable and happy (even though that’s an impossible task.)
We did everything with her in mind, and put aside our own life for a while. And that’s okay. That’s who we are. We are compassionate, caring, and loving people. We want others to be happy. But there’s only so much we can take when it comes to being used and abused.
She yelled at us, complained to us, complained about us, made us feel bad, and used us – and she never once said thank you or acknowledged our help. If we hadn’t have been there she would have stayed in her bed for a week straight and been bored out of her mind, and in the same underwear she went in with…side point.
When we went to pick her up to take her home she didn’t say hi or thank us for coming, instead she whined “I thoughta nobody wasa going to comea!” She said this even though we left a message with her earlier that we would be there at the time we arrived.
When we spent the night she yelled at my husband for cleaning and cooking for her. She didn’t say thank you. She made him feel bad over and over and over again.
Well, long story short, the next morning we couldn’t take it. We have never been pushed to a point where we didn’t want to be around a family member anymore – period. Not just for a day. We were ready to cut her out of the majority of our lives.
She wasn’t grateful. She wasn’t remotely happy that we were there. She was abusive and mean and miserable and whiny and that’s it. There wasn’t even a hint of positivity in there. She’s always been that way but this was a time that we thought she would appreciate us.
So what’s the point? Your relationships can only sustain so much abuse, negativity, and ungratefulness for so long. Soon, even the most loving person is not going to stay around you and continue living in your misery.
This doesn’t mean that we wish his mother ill or ‘hate’ her. We love her and hope the best for her. But we can’t live in a place of misery like that. It’s not good for us and our lives. Nothing we do for her will make her happy. Nothing.
So what does this mean for her? We will be there for her if something happens, but not to the extent we were. She does not appreciate it and she tries to make us feel as bad as possible. Next time she goes into the hospital (which she will because she’s not using her cane or walker like we told her to) we are not going to visit every day. We are instead going to live our lives first and visit her when we can. We are not catering to her every whine and demand. We are not going to be used by her so she can feel even more miserable. We are not contributing to the ungrateful misery.
The funny thing about this whole story is, she has a son-in-law who can’t stand her. He never comes to see her – maybe once a year when he’s forced to. He barely acknowledges her. Yet he is her favorite thing in the whole world. He is the one person she says thank-you to and wants to please. He’s the one person she tries to hug (I’ve never seen her try to hug my husband.)
It’s a backwards world she lives in and we are no longer going to be the star players in it.
Bottom line: Show some gratitude towards others. Let them know you appreciate them in your lives. Let them know you care about them. Smile at them. Say thank-you. Laugh with them. Do something to show you value them in your life. If you don’t, you just may find they start to slip out of your life completely, and when you realize how grateful you really were for them it may be too late.