Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Messy Art of Dying

So G'ma is dying.

It's a fact, jack.

Last Easter we met her and G'pa for Easter Brunch and they were mostly with it...she was driving, he was still mumbling on about his 13 brothers and sisters and life was normal for the most part. She had already started accusing G'pa of having an affair with another woman (he's like 88 and *maybe* straight...and that's a big maybe) and rolling around on the living room with with this lady (ack, ack, ack...please let me erase that image from my mind).

But then the summer came and don't you know that a bus pulled up in front of their house and all these people got off the bus and came into their house and took all their things.

The fuck?

Yeah, that's what my dad said too. Off to the geriatric-psych ward she went for a little evaluation. As you might have guessed she's delusional and was suffering from dementia. Sad. She totally believes all these things (the rolling around on the floor, the bus-load of people, etc., etc.) to be honest to God truth...and that's messed up. To be that far into la-la land (and still be're welcome other safe drivers in the state of Wisconsin...) and have no idea that this shit isn't real? Fuck my life...if I ever get there take me out in the backyard and shoot me.

Into a home she went. At first she was mad, frustrated, pissed, angry, depressed and irritated. But after awhile she realized she was away from G'pa (who for some reason is on her every last nerve for reasons probably including but beyond the 'affair') and that made her happy.

And then she had a stroke. And two days later she had a massive stroke and that's about it. Pretty much Game Over.

Three weeks later we're still waiting and watching her.

I've seen her more times in the last two weeks than I have in the last year (BAD grand-daughter...let's not even go into the amount of insane guilt that I have). Honestly she's always been somewhat of a badger (for those of you who aren't aware, badgers are not pleasant all- not just honey badgers that have been made so famous by You Tube in recent years but like the old fashioned Wisconsin wild badgers- nasty as fuck they can be)- she's never made it a secret that she's not a fan of girls which made me feel awesome growing up. She also mentioned repeatedly that it would have been fine (OK, not just fine...MUCH BETTER) if all of my children were boys when they were still in utero. Truth be told though, since I've moved here and we welcome she and G'pa into our home when my parents bring them up she's been very nice to me. More importantly she's been nice to my girls and THAT'S what makes me fine with her.

I don't remember my mom's mom dying. I was only 14 at the time and for me that was a lifetime ago.

Last week when I saw her for the first time I was haunted by the image I saw. A shell of a woman I once knew. Vacantly staring out the window, mouth gaping open, unable to move the right side of her body or talk and jerkily moving the left as if in an infant-like state. It was rough seeing a woman who, only months ago, was capable of living on her own, cooking, driving (again, scary but true), talking and being a 'normal' member of society.

This weekend I've been to see her twice and I'm becoming more immune to her physical appearance but my heart is breaking for her having to live like this waiting for death. I held her hand and rubbed her arm for a long time yesterday and cried. A lot. I gave her the what for about causing me to snot up and how that isn't polite. I think she thinks I'm funny because I'm not afraid to talk to her like she's still a fully functioning person. The one real conscious effort she made yesterday was taking my hand and (squeezing the bejeezus out of is) putting it to her mouth to give it a kiss.

Today Margo brought her a photo album that I gave her for Valentine's Day to show G'ma. Even though she dozed on and off (my narrative was apparently not as entertaining to her as it was to me) she managed to make an actual effort to grab at the pages and turn them (not only was I boring her with my commentary but I was also moving to slow...I guess with her, at this point, time IS of the essence).

I'll be going back tomorrow with Agnes. I don't know how many more times I'll get to see her but I can't imagine sitting in that room day and in and day out alone. It's bad enough she's unable to move around, talk or do anything on her own but then to be alone? The facility is gorgeous and the staff is really amazing but still, I have to feel that somehow in that head of hers she knows when we are there and appreciates it. Or maybe I'm just doing it more for me. It's hard to tell.

SS, who has kind of a little wish that she is with G'ma when she does take that last breath so I know she was with someone who loves her


  1. I'm really sorry to hear about your grandma. I remember when my dad had his stroke and was like that. I know this sounds selfish, but this just made me think of one more reason why it is an absolute crime that my wife refuses to have kids. When we are that old and in that state, there will be no one to care for or about us. And then where will we be? You are a good granddaughter. I remember my dad squeezing the crap out of my hand, too. He couldn't speak so that was all he could do. I guess technically that was the last thing he ever said to me.

  2. I'm sorry about your grandmother. Dementia is a bitch and then the strokes on top of that, it seems so unfair. I think you know my grandmother lives with me and has dementia. They really do believe some crazy stuff. But then there are lucid moments that make you wonder if it's all real. It's horrible what life does to a person. :-(

  3. Oh balls! This just plain sucks. I love the way you write about it. You bring humor into an absolutely tragic circumstance to make it...don't even know the word. Palatable?
    Doesn't matter if you're there for her or for you. You're there. And that's what counts.

  4. Is there a way to follow your blog that I'm somehow not seeing so that you'll show up in my reading list?

  5. Vapid, you can follow her blog by visiting MY blog and checking my Blogroll! That works for me, although technically it isn't fair and probably not necessary. But I don't know the answer to your question and I though it was ... OK, it wasn't helpful at all.

    1. This made me laugh. Always so willing to help. :)

  6. Such a sweet post.

    You'll have done her good, when she passes, you can feel proud of how you escorted her on, feeling fully loved.

  7. Miss Vapid Vixen- I'm not sure if there's a way to 'follow' it other than to add it to your blogroll? But on my dashboard is says I have 'followers'...? (I used to blog many moons ago so the whole idea of 'following' people is new to me...God...I sound like my mother.

    1. Oh duh! I always forget about that. Done!!! :)

  8. Naked Steve- You're always helpful...always.


Oh c'mon, don't be shy, leave a know you wanna and honestly, you'd make my entire day and you want to have that warm fuzzy feeling don't you? Mmmk, thanks!