Thursday, September 28, 2006

86

Grandmother
she sits on the edge of the bed and cries,
wishing that things were different.
she wonders when she began to feel this empty
and whether it's a permanent condition.
her husband does everything in the world to help
a stranger on the street
but he won't listen to her -- tells her
you don't need to read the directions.
her grandchildren visit occasionally
and she greets them with gifts:
a new book or game or small toy.
when she's caught by surprise, she rushes upstairs
to wrap one of her skirts or bracelets,
a piece of love her husband gave her years ago.

the doctor is too young, she says;
how would someone so young understand these feelings?
she squeezes her eyes shut and wonders if this is
a permanent condition.
(7 jan 1993)

my grandmother is 86 today. in general, she's physically healthy, but in the past month she's eliminated utensils from her narrowing focus and now eats with her hands.

i heard an interview with a woman who'd just written a book about caring for two parents with dementia. it's like watching them die twice, she said. first the person you know dies, then the body follows.

i wish i'd known this 13 years ago, so i could have told grandmother it wasn't permanent.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Bday to your Grammy!

addon said...

it's terrible when our loved ones get like that. dreadful disease. common of course. only one person i know went like that, you just have to let go eventually and let it happen. very sad.

adam

Subhangi said...

Happy B'Day to yer gran, and hugs to you both.

fatmammycat said...

Happy Birthday to the lady. My gamma died many years ago and I still miss her terribly, and while you may not have 'her' give her a big hug while you still can.
salut i suerte.

finn said...

thanks all, for your very kind thoughts. when my mum visited her, my g-mother read the same card to her half-a-dozen times.

but she still reads.
and recognises us, for now.