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Grandmothers Sorrow

The downfall of generational trauma

"I'm stronger than they think I am," she whispered in my ear. "Yo soy mas fuerte que ellos piensan." As she somberly sits by the dinner table, in her wheelchair, tears start to build up in her eyes. Around her, she's sadly listening to her children speak foully about her. "I raised them, took care of them when they were sick, and this is what I get in return," she whispers. The realization offended her, and dawned on me too. So, what changed? Or hadn't changed? There's a lot I didn't know and was eager to find out.

Grandma was a well-respected woman and a widow doing her best to raise her 7 children. She definitely put fear in her grandkids, but always made sure everyone was well fed and in good health. Everyone who came around her showed a great amount of respect for her, she was definitely the matriarch. For this, the way she was treated now was surprising to me. It goes without saying, but we all know that our kids will one day grow up and have their fair share of challenges and make their own decisions. So how did grandma become the villain?

I hope I don't have to deal with that, I thought to myself. I can't imagine my kids sitting around a table speaking badly about me, especially if I'm in pain and disabled. As I ventured to learn more about my aunts and uncles, hoping to develop bonds and get to know more about them, I started to develop a realization. Mental health awareness matters!

Raised a certain way, my grandmother is who she is today. Unfortunately, I don't know how she was raised, but I do know now that, as it was passed down to her, she passed it down to her kids. Where the chain seems to break is at my generation. The first generation of grandkids seem to all have a mission to do it better, as our parents did, but the difference is we are mental health aware. What we call anxiety and stress, our parents call crazy and delusional. While we seek help, they turn to the bottle or tearing each other down. We may have been raised better than they were, but my grandmothers children each carry a unique trauma that now seems to be unraveling around the table.

Had it been any different, coping with life wouldn't look like alcoholism, physical & verbal abuse, greed, and isolation. So, while my grandmother sat at the table, her cries went unheard. I can tell she was struggling to transition and accept being disabled and unable to take care of herself, as she had for so many years. Hoping for the same care she had given her children when they were ill, she's faced with the result of resentful children who don't understand how to care with compassion, patience, and understanding. In fact, as I was told during my visit, "she's crazy don't listen to her." Sadly, grandma echoed those same words.



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