My grandmother had a morning ritual: She’d wake up around 6 a.m.; have some variation of coffee, crackers and sausage for breakfast; and then watch the Channel 4 news. Later, she would drive to the gas station for a few scratch-off tickets and to pick her lottery numbers. She’d always take the service road because she was afraid to drive the Dallas, Texas, freeways.
When I was in my late teens, I received a call from her in a state of panic. She was unsure where she was and knew nothing except that she’d parked in a parking lot. We were somehow able to get her home, but my family and I began to “watch her” after that incident.
In our minds, we were doing it to make sure she was safe. But looking back, I worry the loss of her independence ? her ability to do things like make herself coffee and go to the store ? broke her heart. read more