oh how I can remember the times
when I would hear the stories,
the legends, the wisdom.
When we would revel in the Grandparents,
those who held the stories
who wished for our futures,
who dreamed for us
and would laugh through
their trail of tears,
while encouraging our desires and reminding us of our roots, our foundations, of Creator
even when life had not been so kind.
I remember hearing how loved the little ones were, how much fun the grandbabies were, and how wonderful it was to care for, to spoil and love them,
and to know
“the best thing of grandbabies is knowing they will go home after a spell”!
Oh but we were loved.
Some of us were even blessed to grow up in intergenerational extended families
Everyone worked, played, prayed together.
Big families were the norm;
back in the day.
Before folks and families and times changed;
became fragmented when people struck out and left nests to make it on their own,
some far away as they can go,
others left for better opportunities.
The statistics are staggering.
CARE-GIVING HAS TAKEN A NEW
all time high.
It is not the kids always doing the caring nor the giving.
That sandwich generation has many layers and textures.
Grandparents, Godparents, Kinships
and it is being done by grandparents;
mostly by the strong women truth be told, now the very same women who need care themselves are raising grandchildren.
It is remarkable to know the numbers, to know the reasons, to realize the depth of the issues and all that families led by matriarchs are going through day in and day out to keep some semblance of family and values, along with rich and culture history alive within their walls of a home.
Care-giving takes a remarkable toll on those providing care;
access to help, to services, to support love and continued traditions are spread thin.
We see it in so many cultures, tribes, communities
as strong women stand up in spite of their own health problems, limited economic resources or emotional back ups.
The Elders are our history, they form our foundations … they have earned our respect; they teach us traditions and hold our dreams.
Those who never knew Grandparents, extended family miss so very much.
Yet, there are so many who now
are tending to the children of their children, the children of their siblings or neices and nephews,
in charge of new generations
secondary to a myriad of things, circumstances, sometimes bad choices and devastation.
These folks have raised their kids, have fostered their beginnings,
now ready and deserving of care themselves!
Yet, somehow they now are shouldering the responsibilites that are not or should not be theirs to shoulder
and doing it against all reason and all odds. More often than not, this comes with great sacrifice to the Elders/Grandparents physically, spiritually/emotionally.
Take a drink of coffee or water
and just imagine
In the United States today, there are approximately 5.8 million grandparents living with a grandchild. Of that number, 2.4 million grandparents mostly grandmothers are the primary caregivers of grandchildren, providing for most of their basic needs when their own parents cannot or will not.
Some of those parents are not around, are incarcerated or have susbstance abuse issues
or have health issues, have died
or have been victimized
have just disappeared out of their childs life.
Who is caring for the care givers
or giving them support to care for those in today’s world of high risk behaviors and the world in today,
with such peer pressure,
demand, and need to be
while also balancing life, losses, stress and heartaches that are cumulative?
Grandparent Caregivers are usually defined as those who are residing with, or who are the primary guardian of their grandchildren younger than 18 years old (Jooste, 2007).
Other commonly used terms include: custodial grandparents, kinship foster care, and grandparent-headed families.
According to Jooste (2007), there are two major types of households found most prevalently in the research: “skipped generation households” and “three generation co-parenting households,” where the grandparent and grandchild co-reside without the parent or all three generations co-reside with the grandparent holding primary responsibility for the child, respectively; yet what we often find is that the grandparent is parenting the child and the grandchild!
Who cares for the caregiver?
The times have changed since our Grandparents sent us to the store for a bottle of pop and a pack of nabs…
We now have to wonder and worry
about what those kids are doing;
synthetic drugs are killing people daily!
We have to worry about peer pressure like never before, about mini-marts selling things that are marked “not for human consumption” but everyone now knows that is exactly its purpose.
OK, let me correct myself
NOT EVEYONE KNOWS THAT>
Grandparents and Elders have no idea what those kids are out doing, and need awareness on these issues; they don’t know what they don’t know.
They have no idea when those kids they are raising go out the door if they will pick up what is now known as K2, Spice, Cloud 9,
along with beer and wine
for the next high on the streets or in the car of a friend,
and the next fatal synthetic drug overdose.
Grandparents are not always the Elders you see pictured here,
they are often younger, still working, and busy trying to keep things all together, and yet
they are caring for their kids children, teens, little ones.
Houses are full, time is short,
and awareness is not
known in cities or small towns
where the stakes are high
and expectations have become lowered as a result of continual disappointments and hard knocks along the way.
Many don’t know that this crap can kill who are aware, so how do we expect grandparents to be up to date with all this, particularly in rural America?
Many kids now search first for their party drugs in the medicine cabinets at home;
where many Grandparents have a wealth and steady stock of prescription medications and would not dare to think that their precious grandchild or adult child could be using….
In Native American communities
inter-generational grief/loss/trauma is ingrained; it has been lived so long that it is hard to think that help is available to folks who are used to trauma.
The grandparents there who are mostly women have lived through trails of tears, through boarding schools and trauma, loss, rape.
Places where alcholism, poverty, unemployment is the highest of anywhere in the country,
now are raising the grandkids and their great-nieces and nephews or the neighbors children and trying to teach them the red road;
yet without means or support,
or awareness and education
to feel empowered
and thanked for all they have survived.
There are circles and cycles of sorrow and fear and detachment and shame
yet these Elders stand up forsaking their own dreams and health to take on responsibilites that are not theirs and attempt to take care of others.
The toll of caregiving is enormous
and where is the gratitude to our
We must remember the Ancestors, the Elders
the attitude of great gratitude
that we walk
for they are
the Wisdom Keepers.
The health is important, their stories are vital,
their wellbeing is critical to the future generations.
It should come as no surprise that the word health has the word
HEAL in it.
We must take time to HEAL the wounds of the past in order to care for the now of our world and those living in it.
We must pay attention in order to be better stewards to those who are caregivers in order for them to feel validated on their journey with hope in healing ways.
Our candles remain lit
young warrior Thomas O’Brien
and his beautiful Mom Debbie Koenig, who cares so lovingly for him as only a Mom can do.
Thomas has decided
no more prodding, sticking, appointments. He is at home in the comfort of his bed, his Mom’s arms and his beloved 4 legged Seamus
surrounded by those thousands that continue to send him messages and love,
lighting candles and prayers and thoughts …
WE ARE STANDING
walk in Beauty
- Paths well worn (drses.wordpress.com)
- Tonight I Quote From The Soul Section (littleboxofbooks.wordpress.com)
- Message from the Ashtar Command 6/6/12 ‘Choosing Future Events’ (aquariuschannelings.com)
- The New Earth Energies May 2012 – from Celia Fenn (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- …in the Days of Our Youth (familyties8.wordpress.com)
- Your Ascended Mode of Service (AA Michael) (wingingwithwhitehawk.wordpress.com)
- Assurance (patcegan.wordpress.com)