In May she will be 102.
But she fell Saturday and then again Sunday. She is now in the hospital, speaking to my grandfather that passed away 16 years ago. She thinks the son that is alive is dead...her mind is skewed.
She has been living on her own, limited sight and little appetite and not much ability to get around. 1600 miles away, we hear two different stories as to why she is still living on her own. But family dynamics make knowing the truth a hurdle too large to attempt. The divide has been too great. To question is taboo.
My son looked at me, when I smiled and pushed back the tears, and asked, "are you sad, mom?" (with a puzzled look). I found it hard to explain to him something he has yet to experience. Something I have not experienced much. How do you explain that while I do not wish for my grandother to suffer, while I realize she cannot do anything that she once loved and while the idea of sitting listening to a tv all day, by herself, is depressing, there is still sadness at the prospect of death. I finally came to the realization that the saddness is wrapped up in a chapter closing. A final chapter in her book. At least this volume.
In my case, it is sad that family relations were what they were, and are, but I don't take on those regrets with quilt, because our family dynamics are shared by every member. And try as one might, many situations are going to be what they are going to be and we learn to find the little treasures of enjoyment where they may be.
I managed to call and catch my grandma home and awake a few months ago. It was the most pleasant conversation we had had in a while. Not the practiced safe topics conversations, but in this one, she seemed truly delighted and giddy. She laughed and talked away unabandoned. I treasure that conversation. Last week my Aunt sent out Christmas cards for my grandma. A picture of her now and picture of her as a young adult. One of my favorite pictures of my grandmother when she was young. I sent a card sharing the memories that that peice of mail brought back , sitting on the floor with her looking through all her pictures, over and over...I hope it did arrive last week as it should have.
This morning we are waiting to hear from family how the night went. I can't say there is not anxiety in the wait, and tears at the thought of her waking up confused, somewhere with unfamiliar sounds and smells and shadows and with people that she does not know. Then again, she might wake this morning in glory...all troubles erased, all pains eased and all at peace.
Update: Strong heart keeps one going... Longevity is intriguing . . .