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|49||03/03/14||Grandma's Birthday||(Blog) (Forum)||Off-Topic||(Back) (Next)|
Today is my grandma's birthday. Of course, it's the first one she's not around for, and yeah, I'm feeling a little knotted up about that. She would have been eighty-eight today.
On my grandmother's eighty-fifth birthday, she was living in an assisted living facility, and I went to visit her. I was trepidatious about it, because I already knew that my grandmother didn't really remember me. I had had several conversations with her over the phone where she had spoken to me in generalizations and stand-offish terms, obviously not really knowing who I was, but still being too polite to risk hurting my feelings by telling me so. I didn't really want to experience this with her face-to-face, because my grandmother was one of my favorite people on this planet.
One of the facility's coordinators took me to the area where she was sitting- a vinyl bench outside of the dining area. Another couple of ladies sat in nearby wing chairs. He had to tell her who I was, and she basically greeted me like a stranger, but at least commented that I was "a good lookin' fella" and didn't object to me sitting with her and talking. There were a few awkward minutes, during which one of the other ladies left, and then grandma told me a remarkably lucid story about her first days on her own in the city.
Inwardly, I was overjoyed that I might get to actually spend some time with my grandmother, and not the remarkably grandma-like shell that had been walking around without her memories and personality. But then grandma excused herself to go the restroom. Just after she disappeared around the curve of the hallway, the last remaining lady got up from her wing chair, and came over to sit next to me on the bench. She thanked me for visiting my grandmother, and then proceeded to tell me that grandma hadn't been doing so well- that every day, she told the same story about her early days in the city. I was completely crestfallen at this news. Apparently, I wasn't going to get to speak to the grandma that knew me after all.
When grandma returned to the sitting area, she was a bit distracted. She kept peering into the dining area, seemingly at the ceiling, and she seemed confused by what she was seeing. She'd lean to one side to get a better look, scowl a little, sit back up, and then repeat the process. She did this a few times before I asked her what she was looking at. She informed me she was counting the bulbs in the chandeliers, and something didn't seem quite right. She didn't tell me what that something was, but it distracted her for a few more minutes.
We talked a little more, but it was nothing of consequence. Mostly, she didn't have answers for anything I said to her. Finally, grasping for something she might respond to, I asked her how it felt to be eighty-five. I found myself very curious to hear her answer. If she'd been lost daily to the memories of her late teens or early twenties, then did she even know she was eighty-five? I mean, she used a walker to get to the restroom. Did that register with her, or was it something she did because her subconscious told her to? Was she completely lost to that time, thinking herself a healthy young woman? Or was she only remembering that time, but confused by the old woman she saw in the mirror, and perhaps wondering where the aches and pains of age had come from? I waited intently for her answer, but was to be disappointed again by a minor mumbling that gave no answer one way or the other.
I sat back for a second, took stock of the lack of communication, and smiled lightly, knowing this was going to be all that I got. My hands resting at my sides on the bench, I rolled one hand over, barely brushed against grandma with my thumb, and said, "Well, I'm glad you're here."
I was completely shocked when grandma sprang to life, drew back her fist and said, "Are we going to have a problem?"
I craned my neck back in shock. "'Problem?' What are you talking about? What's the matter?"
Her fist still cocked back, she threatened, "You keep your hands to yourself, or we're going to have a problem! You hear me? Now are we going to have a problem?"
I was dumbfounded. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream, but I kind of wanted to do all three at the same time. I mean, imagine the gross absurdity- my own grandmother thought I was making a pass at her! I think I let out a couple of disbelieving gasps before I said, "No, there's no problem." I was seriously trying not to laugh at my grandmother with her fist cocked back, and I'm sure my tone was one of those that said, "Are you kidding me?" She was oblivious to it though. She did lower her fist once I answered her though.
The other lady, who was still sitting on the other side of me on the bench, and had been helping the conversation along, chided grandma for her behavior and told her she should be thankful that I visited her. That actually made me feel worse. This was the first time I had visited grandma since I had moved back to the state. It was just something I couldn't take seeing- the strongest woman I knew reduced by the ravages of dementia and old age. It was something that just tore at me.
Shortly thereafter, I couldn't bear the awkwardness anymore and made my excuses to leave. Standing, I held my arms open to give grandma a hug, and dang if she didn't surprise me again. Smiling big, she grabbed me suddenly, hugging my neck, and then playfully kissing my neck four quick times before I knew what to do. It was somewhere between the way you'd play with a child, planting kisses on them as you tell them you're "stealing kisses," and the way a teenage girl might flirt with a guy. Either way, it was surprising and a little disturbing. There wasn't anything I could do but laugh awkwardly though, so I did, made my goodbyes, and departed.
Overall, the experience was painful. I wanted my grandmother to remember me and she didn't. As I stated in earlier blogs, I did eventually get that acknowledgment from her, shortly before she died, and I'll treasure that forever. It helped too that at the funeral, a lady from grandma's retiree group stopped and spoke to me and mom, and told me that grandma always talked about me, and "My, how she really loved [me]." I don't think I can ever adequately convey just how much I needed to hear that just then.
Before her passing though, her eighty-sixth and eighty-seventh birthdays came and went, and I couldn't bring myself to go visit her again. I suppose that's terrible, but it had just gotten to be too damned painful. And then we got to the end, where mom spent the last few months being there almost every day. I was torn up over those constant updates, a little more torn up with the pain it was causing mom, sometimes sorry for my aunt too, other times pissed with her, and a little aggravated that my mom kept asking me to visit grandma with her. Couldn't she see that it was tearing me up? Damn. ...<sigh> Probably not.
I eventually went to see her, and visited several times before the end. There's not much to that. She was beyond talking, and only eating sometimes. Those times were more times for me to sit with grandma, or maybe mom and my aunt, if they were there. Times to make peace with the fact that we were about to lose her. And of course for that final affirmation that yes, somewhere in there, grandma remembered her grandson.
...And then we had the funeral, and things degenerated into navigating the machinations of my aunt, which were pretty much detailed in Grandma's Sword, Grandma's Bible, and the rest of the Grandma's Legacy blogs. Now, here we are just over three months since the last blog entry about grandma, and things have kind of stagnated.
The cold weather kicked in, and that has kept anyone from going through the storage sheds with my grandma's stuff. So nothing else has been sold (that I know of) and neither have any of the things I've asked for turned up. My aunt is kind of holding that up too. Besides the fact that she's a hoarder and doesn't want to entrust the stuff to anyone she knows (selling it to strangers is okay, apparently) she seems to have some personal grievance against giving me the things that I have asked for...even though it was she that specifically asked me what I wanted. She has been so deceitful about it that I now consider her a liar and a thief, and I don't see that changing.
Part of that thievery is that she used the power of attorney to cut me out of the money grandma had set aside for me. Honestly, I wouldn't so much mind this, except that she acts as if she didn't do that. Because she was able to coax my grandmother (in her demented state) to say the things she needed her to say, and to sign what she needed her to sign, my aunt claims "It was what mama wanted." Well bull**** to that. My aunt found a legal way to be a thief and disregard her mother's wishes, and so she stole and disregarded. Hell is hot.
She didn't get all the money though- she split it with my mom. That's the reason I don't so much mind it- I honestly could have used the money, but my mom could use it more. My only problem with that is that what I'm seeing now that mom has the money, is that rather than save it to provide for her in case something happens to her, like she said she wanted to do, she's instead spending it. A new phone and laptop here, her own apartment (or maybe renting a house) there. Other things that concern me that are sort of enabled by the money, but I guess we'll see how that goes. Whatever the case, I've said and done all I can say and do, so at this point, if mom is moving, then whatever, I'm tired of fighting about it and worrying over it. She'll just have to move and those chips will land where they may. I will try to hold onto my apartment for the rest of the lease, and enjoy having it to myself again.
And then there's me. In the last three months since the previous Grandma's Legacy blog, I've just kind of coasted.
My aunt pissed me off over the sword and gun, I threatened to look into suing her (and mom) and have been too pissed to deal with her at all since then. I don't have the patience for liars, especially if they're lies affect me. By cutting me out of the money, my aunt has slowed my economic recovery, but like I said, that doesn't so much bother me. It is my firm belief that if the money is meant for me, she can't keep it from me. It will come to me- if not from her, then some other way. I believe this is true of anything, not just money.
Case in point: in the last month, I received an unexpected check from a class action lawsuit against the lender that foreclosed on my house. It's one of those lawsuits I had no idea I was part of until I got the notice saying my foreclosure met the criteria for the case and so was included, and if I wanted to...blahblahblah. I got a notice about two months ago I think, saying I had a payment coming, and I shrugged. I've gotten notices like that before, from class action suits against credit cards, saying I and 1.2 million other people were going to get $1.35, and I never saw it. I figured this was just another buck-and-change I'd never actually see. Well, it turned out to be $1,250. That's real nice.
On top of that, a new employee didn't work out, and my manager needed someone to work third shift for thirty days. She allowed me to do it, and that means a higher shift differential that equals an extra forty hours a month from the base pay. Would an extra week's paycheck in a month help anyone else out? It'll sure help me! And...and... there's a chance (I'm calling it a very, very slight chance) that I may get to keep the position permanently, which I'm not going to lie, I'd love. I'm not counting on it, but yes, I'm hoping.
That's just two things to happen in the last month. Who knows what else could happen? Could be nothing, could be everything, but it will always be what I need when I need it. God is good to me that way. ...But yeah, all that is just to convey why the money doesn't bother me so much...at all, really. It's actually the lies. Those bother me a lot.
Back to coasting though. I haven't done much the last three months. I've sifted through my comics, and I've been trying to get them into storage and out of my apartment. It's just too many danged boxes (as you can see in my CV lists). The danged rain and snow keeps slowing me up- snow is piling up today, actually.
I've piddled with getting some old stories posted to Comic Vine. I've kind of halfheartedly gotten back into the Character Creation Contests (and the halfheartedness shows in the votes). I've been trying to get stuff straight. I need to pare the comic collection down to something that's not taking over my living room. I need to fix some tax issues stemming back to the foreclosure. I really, really have the urge to get my stuff down to something minimum-ish. I don't really want to become a minimalist, but I don't want all the crap I've got now lol. I'd really like to date again at some point, but honestly, not right now... maybe that's me still grieving, maybe it's depression, maybe it's just me getting comfortable with me.
Overall, I don't know, maybe I'm just waiting for winter to pass. Or maybe I'm waiting to see how things shake out at work. Or maybe I'm just waiting on an undefinable something to click into place. ...Or maybe I'm just a chronic procrastinator. lol It's open to judgment, I suppose.
I don't really know that I had a point to all of that. Maybe I was just taking stock. I certainly didn't expect grandma's birthday to touch me like this. I guess it's just something you don't really know how you're going to handle until it comes. So grandma's birthday made me a little sad, it made me miss her more, and it made me reflect even more than usual...so, um, sorry if this blog seems super long to anyone. Happy birthday, grandma. I love you.
|Note: All of the pictures that aren't of grandma are from inprnt.com|