Opinion: (Merriam Webster) A belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks about a particular thing
(Urban Dictionary) Sometimes used as an excuse for someone to say anything they want.
My grandfather had been sick for my entire life. Sometime around the beginning of 2012 though, my grandfather became very ill and ended up getting a feeding tube and needing 24 hour nursing care. During this time, I was living in Florida and the only person around to help my grandparents was my mother. It was a lot to deal with. Shortly after my grandfather fell ill, my grandmother became sick as well and was put on dialysis three times a week. About a year later, I moved back home to Chicago and helped take care of both of my grandparents.
There was a lot physically to deal with, especially with my grandfather. After becoming one of his night time caregivers, I could see how much stress this had to have been on my mother. What was frustrating about this time was that my mother had two brothers, one who lived in California and one who lived in New Jersey, that NEVER came home to help with my grandparents. I remember her calling them one day and telling them they needed to step up and help out with their parents. During that conversation one of my uncles told my mother, “Well, I have to work, so I can’t help right now.” Both my mother and I were irritated after that phone call, but we decided that would be the last time we asked for help. I continued taking my grandmother back and forth to dialysis and her other doctors appointments and being my grandfather’s night time caregiver. Neither my mother or I ever complained.
Almost a year and a half after I moved back home, my grandfather passed away. I was devastated. My grandfather meant so much to me and it had been extremely hard watching his health decline over the years. But the hardest part about my grandfather dying wasn’t having to say goodbye. The hardest part about my grandfather dying was the sudden influx of comments and opinions from family members. As soon as my grandfather died, my mother and I were bombarded with all types of, “Why didn’t you guys choose this doctor?” “Who made the decision to do bury him here?” “Well, I think you should have got a second opinion on x,y,z.” etc.
There is a saying that goes, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.” There needs to be anther part added to that quote that says, “And just because you have one doesn’t mean everyone needs to know.” The time for people to let their feelings be known about what was going on with my grandfather was when my mother and I asked for it, BEOFRE he died. There was no point in people sharing their opinions after the fact. There was nothing that could be done after my grandfather passed. It got to a point where the comments and opinions were just plain blame and ridicule. Maybe it was because my uncles and other family members felt guilty for not helping out when they should have. That still was no reason to impose their opinions on my mother and I. It was hurtful to say the least and created a lot of unnecessary arguments.
You can’t keep people from having their opinions, but you can protect yourself from their opinions. I believe a lot of times when people are giving their “opinion” they actually believe that they are giving advice. But there is a difference. Advice comes from a place of experience. Someone who gives you advice can sympathies and empathize with you because they have been in your situation before and can provide tools for you to deal with your situation. Opinions come from people who have no experience what so ever and are being nosy. When you can spot the difference, it makes it easier to deal with the person that is either giving you advice or offering their probably unsolicited opinion.
One of my favorite mantra’s of all time is by RuPaul, and it goes, “What other people think about me is none of my business.” Because my uncles made a conscious decision not to help my mother and I with my grandfather, they had no idea what was going on in order for them to make any type of comments, what-so-ever. Neither one of them had any credibility. Therefore, their OPINIONS, didn’t matter. As hard as it was for my mother and I to hear some of the things our family had “opinions” about, we both knew at the end of the day they had no clue what they were talking about. I strongly believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone kept their opinions to themselves. That’s advice, not an opinion.