My grandmother raised me, so that means I’ve always faced certain obstacles sooner than my peers. My parental figure retired when I graduated high school. Anytime she’s in the hospital it’s a big deal. She constantly reminds me about her will and death policies.
While everyone eventually faces a moment of true concern for their parent, it isn’t usually when you’re in your 20s. It isn’t when you aren’t financially able to support the person you raised you (let alone yourself). Yes, a lot of people have it a lot worse than I do, but I was recently a witness to some concerning developments in her life.
I knew from living with her after college that she had developed some bad clutter habits. Living with her meant I could clean up behind her as much as possible and throw out spoiled food. Moving away was hard on us both, but it feels like it’s hit her hardest. Harder even then seeing me go off to college.
She finally admitted to me she’s been talking to a doctor about her depression. Which is good, but still makes me feel awful. It’s not easy to come and see her often, and when I do stay she doesn’t want to leave the house. She only goes out to get groceries or go to the library, or when I make her go for walks (disguised as shopping ventures). I’m worried about her lack of human contact and exercise. Neither of those things can be helping her depression.
My most recent trip raised an even bigger red flag about something amiss. Her fridge is bursting with food. More food than a single person could really eat. Upon further inspection I found that most of the half eaten produce was rotten. She also seems to have forgotten what she already had in stock, resulting in multiple repeats.
Maybe I’m a wimp, but I almost cried when I saw five empty pickle jars in the fridge. Just sitting there, taking up space. I asked her why they were there and she vaguely mentioned maybe using the liquid to pickle more things. I showed her the labels, most of them were well past their use by date.
I’m worried and I don’t know what to do, and I really have no one to turn to for assistance. I’m the relation living closest to her and expected to take the reigns when she needs care. I just feel like I can’t take care of her when I only see her for two days once a month or so.