Thanks to everyone for their kind words about my grandmother. Amy, she would’ve enjoyed the toast.
I feel incredibly guilty for not being in California, particularly for my mother. I had a flight booked, work was ready to let me off for bereavement, but grubette called at the last second, saying I shouldn’t come out.
Knowing my mother, she’d end up feeling guilty herself if I spent the money to visit her.
On the way to work, I spoke with grubette. We’d planned on visiting that weekend, and I asked her if she was going to go early. She said she was already an hour away.
In the grub clan, it’s like we’re a bunch of relapsed Catholics and we aren’t even religious.
grubette and I emailed back and forth. She’s much more poetic in her emails:
We looked through many of her things to try and find her will and I found a jade necklace that was still in its envelope, ungifted. Finders keepers, I did keep it.
It was sad, a forgotten treasure she bought for someone probably months in advance, sitting in an old purse along with a ton of credit card bills and used airline tickets.
All these were stacked neatly, still in their envelopes with one side slit open from grandpa’s letter opener. I loved that every single envelope was opened the same way, a neat slit on the side, not the top. Most documents were placed back in that same envelope.
All that junk, easy to throw away, but no one wanted to get rid of anything save for the stolen restaurant fast food napkins and disposable chopsticks in her drawers.
I mentioned another random memory of one Christmas when Grandma sent me a present containing a box of 4000 pennies (perhaps a harbinger of my love for penny slots). It took all night to count and wrap them in 50-cent rolls, and the next day my father took me to the bank to deposit it.
Oh yeah those pennies.. still, snapshots huh? A whole life reduced to a few poignant memories. I guess that’s what life is all about anyway.
When we were at the nursing home moving all her furniture, this woman kept following us, wanting to ride up and down in the elevator for no reason other than to stimulate her Alzheimer’s ridden brain. She giggled like a schoolgirl, pleased by something so simple.
I’ve thought of the whole irony of growing old before, but it seemed exceptionally pronounced when someone dies and you clean out their things.
Grandma reverted nearly full circle back to being a toddler: unsteady walking, a twin bed with rails so she wouldn’t fall out, diapers, needing help taking a shower and brushing her teeth, a sock contraption to aid her in putting on her socks, making construction paper animals to pass the time, using zippers and pullovers because buttons are too hard, watching cartoons, having mealtime be the highlights of her day, being checked on every few hours to make sure she was breathing, being pushed around in a strollerlike wheelchair, and worst of all, being talked down to like a child, no longer able to participate in adult conversation and instead being asked inane questions like “Want a drink?” or “Do you have to use the bathroom?”
Sad to say that is all our destinies.
I’ll write more this weekend and catch up on my trip to the boats, Atlantic City, my confoundingly slow computer, and oh yeah, poker.