Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Granny

I think that my Gran is dying.

Not in an "everyone is dying" kind of way, but in a "I don't think I'll make travel plans that don't involve going home" kind of way, because, as Shelley put it, cancelling a fun trip to go to a funeral is not going to make the funeral any easier.

I have no real reason to believe she's dying. Yes, she's almost 94; yes, she's in the hospital; yes, she had a serious stroke nearly 5 years ago that we were all surprised she survived.

But: she's been living quite well on her own up to now, and lots of people live to be in their late nineties; the infection that put her in the hospital is under control; under her soft exterior, she comes from farm people, who are a tough people.

So I'm left with the woo: a general feeling that she has had enough.

I've had this feeling for a long time though. Over the past year and a half, I've seen my grandmother turn from an incredibly gentle, soft-spoken, laughing woman, to one prone to fits of irritation and frustration.

She's started giving away more and more of her possessions.

Everything she owns, she knows who gave it to her. My last trip back, she gave me back the tiny pig sculptures I'd given her for Christmas in 1983. Both Amy and I also got a compact, complete with original cakey powder. She knew the back story for each one - who had given it to her, when, why. I don't know where I've put mine.

When I talked to her on the phone two days ago, we talked for just over two minutes. By the end of it, she was frantically tired: she mumbled "I have to go now" through still-broken teeth and exhaustion, hung up as I was saying "Bye, Gran, I love you."

I don't know what to think, exactly. I do love my grandmother, very much, though we had a blip about 8 years ago that severed an innocence in our relationship. We never spoke about it face-to-face.

She's a generous woman with a warm soul. My mother once said, "If you want to know the truth, you go to your Grandma C. If you want to feel better, you go to your Gran." It was the truth. I have heard about three unkind words out of my Gran's mouth.

So I hate to see her so much not like herself. Not the self I knew her as.

Maybe I'm wrong about this dying thing. Maybe she's not, or not immediately. Right now, not having seen her, only having heard her wheezy voice over the phone along with the stories of her hallucinations and severe lack of mobility, I feel it in my bones.

My bones are preparing me to grieve for a woman who has been the glue in our family for at least as long as I've been around. But maybe that's just the spring damp.


XUP said...

She looks like a beautiful woman and if she's ready to move on, the most unselfish thing everyone can do is to somehow let her know it's okay.Her legacy will live on.

Ariel said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. Hope you are doing okay, and please call me if you need anything.

xo A