Halloween Tips: With Grandpa gone, how do we make Grandma happy?
Grandmas and Mothers
My stepfather died in February this year (2009). Even though my mother asserts everyday that she’s okay, I find her showing a sense of incompleteness every time she talks about my stepfather. She complains about a lot of things - her joints, her appetite, her hearing, her chest, her memory and many more of her “organ symphony”.
How do we provide the space for happiness for an eighty-one year old widow? As teenagers, we had the habit of protesting or complaining when our mother set the rules. But at that time our mother possessed the much needed energy for raising a family. When I forget that my mother is old and I find myself still behaving like I was still a teenager, I strike my breast quietly afterwards. At age eighty, my mother has to be free from the stress of dealing with our quirks. We are nine and the three of us who are single still live with her.
Halloween will be a time when my siblings will be home. There will certainly be rice cakes and other food placed in special plates with candles as an offering to the dead. We remember our dead with love on November 1 and 2 each year whether we are at the cemetery or at the house. Remembering the dead with love and joy will surely make grandmothers happy.
I’d like to share the following tips to make Halloween a significant and happy time for grandmas:
a) Be a good listener. Grandmas sometimes forget that they have already told a particular
story two or three times. It would be insensitive to tell them that they keep repeating
b) Make grandma laugh by teasing her about where she placed her eyeglasses and the
keys. There’s nothing more affirming than a hearty laughter and an acceptance of
old people’s forgetfulness.
c) Give grandma a really good massage. If you don’t know how to massage, prepare for
it. Be extra gentle when you massage her arms and legs. We may never realize it but
after a good massage grandma’s eyes sparkle and her “Thank You’s” are profuse.
d) Prepare a special food for grandma. Fruits and vegetables, yes, but special ones like
broccoli, mushroom, pumpkin and beans. Make the recipe something that is out of
e) Sort out the family’s memorabilia and organize a “gallery viewing” for the family.
f) Organize a Halloween program and make Grandma the “guest of honor”. Prepare
a funny Halloween award to make her laugh.
g) Play or sing Grandma’s favorite music.
There could be many more creative ways to make Grandma happy during the Halloween.
The secret is to make her enjoy the “adventures” exhibited by her sons and daughters and
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