- He talked about how his sister in law is being stressed by her daughter who is zapping her for money all of the time. Despite being off on her own and living out of town to go to school - she is no longer in school and still looks to mom for support. This despite being in her late 20's and having squandered her educational opportunities by hanging out and drug use.
- He talked about his own children. Both had kids in their teen-aged years, both dropped out of high school. They have both elected to "shack up" with someone else because this was the ultimatum that was given to them lest they abide by the rules of his house.
- The daughter didnt' take care of her own car and the engine locked up due to lack of oil
- Now she is always borrowing her mother's car - placing stress on him and her as they try to juggle the transportation obligations.
- He talked about his own job. Working at a recycling plant. They call him "Pops". At 52 years old and working around a lot of young people he is seen as the voice of reason and wisdom for the other young people.
- He spoke about who he needed to set out to draw the lines of respect for the White plant manner who at times thinks that he can talk to him as if he was one of the young guys.
- When he needed a pay raise to help ends meet - he called the manager into the office and spoke to him "man to man". The fact that the manager knows his value as a key tempo setter for the young co-workers - he agreed to the $1 per hour raise to off-set the increasing cost of living
- He showed me his asthma inhaler. What was $15 per month a few years ago has jumped to $50 and is now $200. It was hard to believe that that this little canister costs $200 per month.
- 5 Black males
- All college graduates
- All married
- All gainfully employed
Grandma and Social Security
At no point in this saga did me of my siblings say "We need to advocate for a larger check from Social Security for my grandmother". Though few of my siblings are as right of center as I am - they all realize that that particular stream is drying up and that this matter can be addressed via better communication and, most importantly, having those of us who have the resources to remove the financial stress off of those who are providing up close and personal care to do so. We all have the common goal of taking care of our matriarch.
The unspoken story here as well is about the important of proper governance and development of one's children so that they have a greater chance of being net contributors to their parents long term care than they are dependents at a time of scarcity. I am not taking anything away from my grandmother's direct children. They have provided the financing and the in-home care as best as they could. In this case the saga of their own children and their ability to stand on their own two feet (in their mid-twenties and beyond) versus the legacy of their past decisions being an anchor upon the extended family's ability to target the resources where they should be focused.