What do you do when someone you care about is making really awful decisions for themselves? Do you step in? When? I am a firm believer in letting people do what they want because they are going to do it anyway. That's not to say that I won't offer an opinion or advice when asked, but I have found it to be true that people are going to do what they want and aren't going to change until they are ready.
This is true for me with my weight. This is true for other people in bad relationships. And now this is true for my Grandpa and his drinking.
But what do you do when the person's awful decisions are putting them on a quick path toward death? That's where we are at with my Grandpa right now. We decided to step in because while it's crappy he's doing this to himself, it is also really affecting my Grandma and Uncle and my Mom. Plus, he is endangering other people because he boozes all day long then gets in the car to go out for drives! It's sad that he is killing himself, but it will be really unforgiveable if he kills someone when he is out on the road drunk. As unbelieveable as it may sound and as much as my Grandma hates my Grandpa's drinking, she defends his driving and says he is a really good driver. On the other hand, she can't explain how one of their afternoon drives turned in to them getting lost in L.A. for over 4 hours last week.
So anyway, that was the main point of our trip down to Orange County over the past 3 days. Grandpa knows the consequences of his drinking and doesn't want to change so we can't do anything about it, but my Grandma really appreciated our visit and that my Mom was there to help with things she thought needed to be done for their household. Mom was even able to get a home nurse in to assess their situation and hopefully get them the help they need to make life easier around the house. Mom also spoke to the nurse about the drinking and driving issue and she said she would speak to his main doctor who would contact the DMV to get his license revoked.
Although my Grandpa was a bit angry that we were there and didn't really want to talk to us the first two days we dropped in to visit, yesterday he seemed back to his old self. It was nice to sit and chat with him for awhile and I'm glad he came around to us being there as it is a much nicer memory to have of him than one of him ignoring us.
It's a really hard situation to be in. I feel bad for him, I feel bad for my Grandma, and I feel bad for my Mom and Uncle. There is no good end to this and I realize and accept that. I wish things could be different, but you can't change things and you certainly can't change people. Rather than think about my Grandpa as he is today, I am going to choose to think of him and what he was like when we were younger-the man who taught us how to fish and who used to take me and Nae down to this really cool beach in San Diego to look for moonstones.