Monday, October 27, 2008

Baba and Grandy

Kristen your post made me think of this...

This is my Grandmother Barbara and Grandfather Hal, Baba and Grandy. He's been gone for several years now at the age of 97. It was time I think when he left. He had dementia and was incarcerated on the Alzheimer's ward at "the home" (their words, not mine) right before he died. He was constantly trying to escape. The famous story is the one my Aunt tells of visiting him, driving away in her car only to look in her rear view mirror to see him trying to climb the chain link fence. As you can tell he did climb Mt. Rainier. Maybe he thought he was there again. When he died we really weren't all that sad. He was very old, a bit cranky and didn't really know who we all were. it was time.
Unfortunately now I think it may be her time. She will be 100 at the end of January. Already the planning for the big celebration is starting. The emails, the "who's house are you staying in" etc. I however don't want to go. I'm sure this will make me the (again) black sheep of the family. The thing is that she has stopped eating and drinking and says she wants to go....I respect that. Her eyes don't work, she has no appetite, she can't sleep, can't hear and worst can't paint anymore, the thing she loves.
My Aunt has apparently had a conversation with her about what will happen if she continues on this path and my mom is pissed. She doesn't want my Aunt to talk to her about this, says it's like "assisted suicide" and is gunning for a fight with her sister. I agree with her but I think maybe her mother has found comfort in the fact that someone will talk with her about this. I think she should leave it alone. Her sister has spent the last ten years caring for their mother giving my mother the opportunity to live the life she does unfettered by her mother. Personally I think her sister should inherit all and after their mother dies be free to live her life knowing she did the right thing. I told my mom this and she disagrees.
So I don't want to go to a "party" with familial in fighting and an old sick woman who may or may not remember me. I did it with my father's mother and I hate that memory. I would prefer to think of her as she is in those photos young and beautiful.....but Ohhhhhh will I be in trouble:)


Travis said...

When my grandfather died he wasn't that was 10 years ago and he had been fighting leukemia for nearly 10 before that.

His last year was my freshman year in college in Boston. I didnt get to go to my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary because I couldnt get home.

My grandfather died 3 days before I was to fly home for the summer.

I didn't get to go to my grandfather's 'last party' and it hurts so bad even a decade later to think about that. I look at the pictures...and I can see he had really gone down hill, but I also see the smile on his face as he sits with my little sister who was there...and I just wish...wish..I would have figured out a way to be there.

We have so little time on this earth with the ones we love. After missing that 'party' I resolved to be involved and make things happen when it is about someone I love.

Melissa said...

Travis- I always hear people talk of their warm and fuzzy families and how they all got together, sang songs and how great it was. However, that's not really where I landed in this life. I don't like my family. Near, extended and all in between. I liked my dad and his sister and that's about all.

In fact to go to one of our family functions feels very stiff and forced. No one really likes anyone but all do it out a sense of duty. I kind of just stopped doing that a long time ago.

As you saw by the BBQ I have a lot of great friends that I consider to be my family and adore being around them. So I am content:) But I'm still not going to a party where the centerpiece is a cranky old lady who would rather move on to her next stage. Call me crazy or unfeeling.....

Kristin said...

That is a really difficult situation! I wonder if anyone has asked if SHE wants a party? Maybe she just wants to relax and be at peace....maybe its her time to go.

It must be tough to be in a family you don't like very much, but I'm sure there are lots of people out there who feel the same way. I just feel so blessed to truly love, admire, and LIKE my nuclear and extended family. They are all such incredible people.

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

Melissa. Is the center photo from Muir or Summit Crater?

Melissa said...

It's summit crater. My grandfather is the cranky looking one above the flag :)

Melissa said...

Before he died he wrote the story of his climb down and part of it was in the paper for some anniversary (Paradise I think?)I have it somewhere. Before he lost his facilities the Times had a nostalgia writing contest and I entered several things on his behalf. He got in about three times :)

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

The Summit Crater on Rainier is AWESOME. Having glimpsed it only for a few minutes of my life (on foot)-- I've flown over it many times.

HE is a hero to me. That is AT LEAST as hard as running a marathon getting up there. AT LEAST!!!

I was queasy and light headed and don't really even have clear memories of it. Your Grandpa is a new hero.