More on Gram.
This time last evening, I got to speak to my Da. It's not that I don't like and respect my father - I do that. I just don't get to talk to him all that often as I would like. Kind of like talking with Gram, really, except she has never been one to talk on the phone or write back. My usual conversations with Da are done over email, and sometimes this is more comfortable.
I repeated my offer to him to skip out on one of my employers and take the other one with me to visit, and was told clearly that they felt I would likely be more hinderence than help. I talked about this with my beloved, and he asutely stated that they are likely shutting me out of it. Umm, yeah. But I understand this.
When her husband, Granpa Walt died, or more clearly, when he was spending his last few weeks in the hospital, Mom did make the effort to go see him and help Gram, but Gram protected her from seeing Walt wasted away and frankly looking terrible. When she dodged Gram's precautions, she always regretted that. It was that image she took away with her, and not saying good bye to him or anything else she felt she needed to say. And this is what she thinks she wants to save me from. I don't have to like it. But I understand it.
Gram was never robust for the last 20 years. She's always been skinny, but dang, she's scrawny now. I admit, I don't really want to see her whacked on morphia and barely knowing who I am. But if my presence was at all remotely helpful, I'd be there. Yesterday. Or even last week. I did get to see her Kissmoose week, as I said. I never had heartburnings of what to say to her like I did with Meme, and I managed to say thank you to her before she passed over. I don't have to say anything to Gram. She already knows, if it was important. And if it wasn't, it certainly doesn't matter now.
I think the only scene that plays in my mind about Gram where I had to swallow my words was the time I took my neice Suzi to see her. Suzi was about 5. She was a very charming 5, and kept us both very entertained through the visit as only a small polite child can manage. I must mention that Suzi was a surprise to my parents, as her mother was unwed when she announced her pregnancy. (Got a fair amount of respect for my sister for sticking to her guns about that, I do). Gram surprised me at being a stickler for appearances. But she told me in an aside during this visit, that she was in fact pleased that no one did what she had urged, and either give up the child or abort it, and that she had the chance to meet this charming girl. This is still disturbing to me, in all that I knew she meant well. I don't think I could say anything civil at all for several minutes, so I just held my tongue. And now-- there's no point in talking about it at all. She won't even remember the moment now.
My other favorite memories mainly involve poking into her garage sale, which I may get to do one last time, poking around in the bedrooms upstairs and playing in the lawn outside. She wasn't there in most of these memories, but they have her shape, as they would not happen elsewhere. I did not actively seek my gram when I was little. She smelled too much of cigarettes to appeal to me, and she kept detached where she could observe, and not actually interact.
So perhaps it's fitting that I am more observing than interacting with her directly, here at the end. I spent a lot of my youth taking care of my mother. Is it wrong of me to be more focused on this old habit of taking care of her? I cannot think that wrong. Either way, there is already a Gram-shaped hole in my existence, and it's just a matter of figuring out the schedule. Uncle Bob (mum's younger brother)is on his way from Florida. He may arrive tomorrow. He may arrive in time. He will not care if he does or not.