I’m thinking of my other great grandmother…the one who was tiny and (I recently found out) Irish, instead of a tall Swede…
When I was very very little she lived in a tiny apartment on East 96th…her daughter, my great aunt Virginia still lived nearby, on 84th, or 93rd and came and visited with, and took care of her every day… On birthday’s or Christmas, many of us would sit against the walls of that apartment in a circle, and she, embarrassed by all that attention, but happy, would sit in the center, and open presents, or laugh or smile at something someone else said.
She was a simple, quiet woman who missed her cottage and garden in Kirtland Ohio…but her osteoperosis was raging, and she could barely see from cataracts. When she had breast cancer (in the 20’s or 30’s?) a radical double mastectomy had been the only solution. She was amazing without the bravado of her grandsons….curls piled on top of her head, indiscriminate and interesting, not a carefully crafted “perm” as her daughter wore.
When they moved to an apartment in Mayfield Heights, an Eastside suburb, in the early 70’s, her room had a distinctive character…her scarves, perfumes, buttons, hankerchiefs, carefully laid on the bureau…and pictures, pictures, pictures, my favorite being one of her mother, a girl who had some French in her, named Jeanette. Not to mention the occasional mint.
She was the kind of great grandma a talky little kid needed. She was clear headed and paid attention to my little successes and failures in such a way that I felt she really wanted to know. She also wanted to connect by touch and was a great hand holder, even when all other movement was labored.
She was lucky enough to have a peer on that side of my family, my other great grandmother, tall, elegant. I loved that aspect of familly gatherings after the move to a bigger apartment. She and my other great grandmother would sit on the couch and reminisce quietly out of hearing of the younger folk. I’d eavesdrop sometimes, to hear about things that sounded fascinating that happened fifty years ago that I knew nothing about. All I truly remember was a scrap of a conversation about the end of WW!…how the cease fire happened on her birthday and she felt odd about that…….
Her daughter became gravely ill in 1974, and near the end of that, my great grandmother came to live with us for a bit. I was asked to help her with some basic care, and tried to present a cheerful face to her when I did.
But inside, I was terrified I would do a wrong and get in trouble…so I was reluctant….I got better at it, and therefore more frequent and more willing… I learned she had what they called then a “weak heart.” For that reason, when her daughter did pass away, it was decided not to tell her, at least not until after the funeral…
At the breakfast table one morning, she raised her voice.
“Children, I’m no fool. You don’t have to say a thing, I know she’s gone.”
There was a little denial, mainly because we were stunned she knew because we had remained silent…we called around and made sure no one else had told her, and then…we comforted her…one of my parents and I stayed with her during the funeral I was not permitted to attend. There was never an explanation about how she knew.
A week later, in the type of goodbye that was passing even then, peers, grandchildren and great grandchildren were around her bedside in that same kind of circle as she passed away. She was 97.
I loved knowing someone who could be so sweet and bracing, even while sitting still.
I’m sad about someone I respect. She was the primary caregiver for a son with disabilities for the entirety of his life up to now. And he was and remains, shall we say, difficult. She gave up her own dreams? Life path, whatever you might call it, so that he would be cared for.
Now, she has dementia, and he has care in the home, but it is inadequate.
He has decided, on his own to go into a facility and that’s hard enough. But it will be worse for her because she, for her own safety, should also go in. And she will be so afraid, and confused, and angry.
See it as kidnapping in a sense.
And as difficult as this son is…I place a lot of blame on his alcohol infused able bodied brother. He certainly saw this moment coming decades ago, but neither he nor his brother with disabilities have done any advance planning. (the brother with disabilities has a weird world view, but no cognitive deficits per se. He could have helped in the thinking ahead)…
And after all that, I still feel sad for them both that they have to endure this. Her, more than anything, as she is taken from her home, for reasons she does not understand.
I shouldn’t feel sorry for his trouble…given our history, given his difficult nature.
Trying to find housing for a former caregiver back in Denver that I respect. I’ve linked the website here before in case folks need it. (It has Ohio listings as well) http://www.socialserve.com Pulled 73 zero step entrance dwelling listings…advised that as with most of these types of places there are waiting lists…Hope it’s’ helpful to them down the road.
Challenging visit to the doc yesterday. More on that when/if I feel like it.
I said I’d restart the workout regimen today, and happy I did. first half was the sitting aerobics workout with the dumbest affirmations ever, so I just shut down the sound and do the repetitions. Did half of a 40 minute aerobic workout, (Complete Sitting Aerobics by Kelly Bliss ), I’ll add more in as I feel capable. Second half was the strength training regimen from the rehab completed in June. Used the four pound weights and hope I’ll have no trouble with that.Total time between the two ran about 40 minutes. I’ll have to wait until the evening to do the ankle weight reps, because I need my aide to put the weights on my ankles. Did do some thigh hip, leg raises and ankle pumps this am though.
Also drank the soy/almond dark chocolate blended shake thing with cold pre frozen banana warmed just enough to mix in and blend. Works like ice, makes it cold. Yummy. 17 grams of protein before noon. This will be a five day a week thing, as it was in the nursing homes, but I’m going to only give myself one day off in a row, (two days but broken up. That last piece of advice came from my gym coach cousin, hi Nancy.
I’m thinkin’ this is something I’ll be able to keep up because I am used to it…
Pooh on the Weather Channel. It said bad t storms were starting at 1215 today in my zip code. 60 percent chance…Didn’t go to Mass so chair wouldn’t get soaked.
Except there was no storm.
On the upside it’s been a beautiful afternoon. Also productive. I love being home.
One last visit from friends I’ve known for 23 years.
Lots of chair to chair transfers. The walker is now just necessary for theraputic stand and walk, the arms are strong enough to handle it during the day. At night, when I’m leveraging and half asleep I still need the walker. I need to take great care when I’m half asleep and need to do activities. (I tend to remember the physical therapist’s advice at night on exactly how to move to stay safe.)