October 10th, 2008

labyrinth ring

well shit.

i just got off the phone with my brother who called to let me know that my grandma, who is 96 and has been dying of congestive heart failure for the last 3 or 4 years, went to the hospital a couple of days ago complaining of severe pain. they discovered her gall bladder is septic and so they've taken her to a nursing facility where i guess she's on hospice now. and although we don't have a prognosis per se, i can guess that if she's seriously doped up on morphine for pain and has a septic major organ, she's not long for this world. it's a long road to death sometimes. so now i'm caught trying to decide if i should fly to orange county to see her one last time or just wait til the funeral. since her diagnosis with end stage chf, we've been to say goodbye three times, so.....

my grandma and i have had a difficult relationship. more difficult than i think grandparent/grandchild relationships are supposed to be. she and my grandfather, both, were horrendous to my mother and, subsequently, my brother and me after my father left and really horrible to us all when he died. she harangued me continually about my weight. there was plenty of money with lots and lots of strings from my grandparents. i wouldn't own this condo if it weren't for her generosity. but the weight of her love and my grandfather's love has been heavy on me for a long, long time. my emotional baggage has a separate trunk reserved just for them. and so i have awaited her death with this guilty combination of anticipation and dread. anticipating the freedom for once and for all from my father's side of the family and dreading losing a grandmother who was still my grandma anne with an e who sang to me when i was little (she had a little song "julia dear i love you sunny little flower") and took me to musicals and wore crisp, ironed camp shirts with cropped, cuffed jeans and dr. scholls flip flops and made us porridge for breakfast.

aw fuck. just once i'd like to have a death come and have it be quiet and still, not fraught with pain and confusion. but we don't get to choose that any more than we get to choose any of our families or histories.

here's a picture of me and enzo and grandma anne the last time we went to atlanta to visit her. it was awesome to have my grandma meet her great-grandson. we were all pretty happy as you can see. enzo was about 9 months old and grandma was 95.