Addicted to Ink

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My heritage

I interviewed my grandmother tonite, for this book I'm writing.

She so strong. And feeble. She's failing. And thriving. She's remembering. And forgetting.

I know that the end of her life is near. I know that every time I see her, it may be my last. Which is why she is the first person I interviewed.

We talked a lot tonight. Half of the time she thought I was my mom, but it didn't matter. She kept interrupting people - but that's wonderful. We hang on to her every word, happy for these moments, these stories of the past, these stories that, once they die with her, we'll never recover.

She taked about when she was little. How, among her brothers and sisters, her mom liked the boys, and her dad liked the girls. Her mom treated her so badly--nothing was ever good enough, she made her lie to her father; but her father loved her and was kind to her.

Her "papa" - she said she would have been slapped in the mouth for calling him "Dad", it would have been disrespectful then - had a lot of faith, she laughed, because it was the Great Depression. He wasn't "quite right" but they needed money, so he'd go door-to-door taking orders for coal and milk and food. Problem was, he didn't have access to those goods.

She talked about difficult times in her life (the worst was when my grandpa was in the process of leaving her), and how she got through them. She told of a time not long ago when she was depressed - "feeling sorry for myself," she said. "I was lonely." She talked about the time (also recently) when she saw Jesus in her living room, when she still lived alone.

"He was beautiful," she said. "And He just sat there, keeping me company."

She looked good tonight. She was wearing a nice button-down white shirt that Aunt Willie had bought her, well-fitting pants, and these cute littly fuzzy pink ballet slippers.

But she didn't feel good. She only ate a few bites of her cottage cheese and chicken salad, and later she needed a mint because her mouth was dry. When she could stay awake no longer, she struggled to her walker. Her stomach hurt, but she didn't want to take anything for it. She just wanted to sleep.

She goes to the doctor tomorrow. He's a new doctor, now that she's moved in with my aunt & uncle. He's young, up on all the latest medicine, and has taken her off a lot of the medicine that was making her feel so awful.

My grandmother, who's never been a drinker, has scerosis of the liver. I don't know how she got it. She just has it.

These, her last days, are bittersweet. Grandma gave me such a happy childhood. When I lose her, I will lose so much, and, though her body is wearing out, she still has so much love and knowledge to give, and she is a gift simply because of who she is.

But still, I don't want to see her suffer. I wonder when she will go... Home.

1 Comments:

Blogger dawn said...

Wow, this must have been the "Grandmother" weekend. I just read Megan's post, and now yours, and I was thinking of my Grandmother this past weekend - it was the 3rd anniversary of her passing. I am so glad that you are able to spend this time with your Grandmother. Mine spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home about 3.5 hours away from me (she had alzheimers and dementia) so I didn't always make the time to go visit her... and when I did, I couldn't really talk with her because she didn't speak much. Not to mention her mind was very jumbled and confused from the dementia. I really wish I had known more about her life and more about her as a person, not just as my Grandmother. So this is a beautiful thing you are doing, because once your Grandmother is called home, her stories and memories will survive, and she will never be truly gone.

2:08 PM  

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