Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Grandparent's Voice

World English Dictionary
voice (vɔɪs)
- n
7. written or spoken expression, as of feeling, opinion, etc 
8. a stated choice, wish, or opinion or the power or right to have an opinion heard and considered

A Grandparent's Voice. I had to grow into my grandparent's voice. In fact, it took me years to figure out how to express that voice that I had been honing for so many years. A voice that sometimes needed to be quiet. A voice that could be heard if presented in the correct way. A voice that needed to be heard in order to preserve my needs and desires. I had to find my own voice.

I was surprised to find that the first dictionary I checked did not have the above descriptions of the noun voice. I was surprised to see it listed as 7 and 8 in the World English Dictionary. Yes, the sound that emits from air passing over our vocal cords is an important voice, but learning about our own voice, a voice that can express and be heard, is equally important in my estimation. 

A friend of mine informed me that her family was talking about what to do with her now that she is alone and sixty-eight. I must say that it caught me off guard that her family would be trying to decide what to do with her when she is an active business woman who seems in control of all of her facilities. Then it dawned on me that even my sisters and I had often talked about what we were going to do with Mom and Dad when the time came. 

I am part of that generation of women who were housewives. My circumstances took me back to the work force when I was forty-six. I had not planned for my senior years. Way back when, the elderly just moved in with a family member or tried to stay in their own home as long as possible. Even with the best of plans, no one knows what lies awaiting at any point in time. When my father passed, my mother stayed on the farm until she died. We were fortunate that they had a community who looked after them since we all lived away in other states. So who takes care of us? How do we keep our children from worrying about us? 

Since my layoffs, I have been at the mercy of my savings from the sale of my house. I had unemployment, but that was far from keeping me afloat. When I still had no job, my house money dwindled. I ended up moving in with my daughter (big mistake). Now I live in the lower level of my friend's home. This is not the life I chose. I am working part time, but still I know that some time my body will not continue to tolerate the hours I work standing on my feet. My voice doesn't seem to count for much at this time. Still, I'm a young sixty-five. I embrace life and live it to the fullest. I am a positive person who does what I can to move forward. I do have a voice in my future without my family making those decisions for me. We can have dialogue.

I know I am not alone. I know that many people are afraid of the future, especially when there seems to be no answers, only more problems. There is no dishonor in asking for help.There is no shame in looking to what agencies are available to help you. There is no reason you can't still help others and perhaps find in helping others, your own way. We are a vital part of our families and communities. We cannot sit back and let decisions be made without at least giving our own opinions. Yes, sometimes health and circumstances take us to places we would rather not be, and we have to be accepting of those situations. Yet we can have conversations that allow us to express our feeling of entering into those changes in our lives.

I have a grandparent's voice. I have a woman's voice. I have a voice the same as every human being should have even if we find that our voice must be expressed in ways that keep us safe. Not everyone lives in a country where their voices can be heard. Not everyone knows they have a voice. Remember that with that voice comes the listening as well.

voice. the right to have an opinion heard and considered

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