My grandmother died last Saturday morning. She died quietly and with no one but my father near her. It felt sudden but, of course, it wasn’t. The truth of how she was feeling had been buried under layers of fear and confusion that come with the progression of dementia. Sometimes, the physical ailments would worsen just enough to surface themselves before submerging again just as quickly with the application of interventions. Improving only enough to retreat into the deep where neither she nor we could monitor them. She no longer feels homeless- confused about where she is living and longing for what she called home. She no longer feels the coldness of children and grandchildren who could not overcome their own greed, self-indulgence, and pettiness to visit her- to love her. That is gone now. I am glad for that.
But I am sad because I miss her- I read letters she wrote over ten years ago and remember when we had deeper conversations or even trivial ones. I remember that I once was someone she talked to and not someone who reminded her that I had just stayed overnight, that I now lived in a different far away place, that she had fallen and hurt herself and now could not return home. Not someone who reminds her over and over within the same conversation. And I am angry that that I didn’t do more for her, that other people didn’t do more for her, that I didn’t find them and make them do it. And I am angry that there was actually no way to do any of those things.
It’s been one week now. I am still crying. I feel like I should not be crying anymore. A friend once told me when I was embarrassed to be crying over a colleague who had died: “isn’t he someone worth crying for?” My grandmother was someone worth crying for.
Aloof. Stubborn. Beautiful. Quick witted. Difficult. Graceful. Loving.
My grandmother is someone who is worth crying for.
Recently, I have had my own health scares. Autoimmune issues that cause discomfort and inconvenience after inconvenience. I have missed races, social events, school, and work. I briefly gained control of them only to be derailed by grief. I am consumed by fatigue, GI issues, and restlessness. Nothing helps. It just is.