Got the call from my mother about one minute ago.
She was badly broken up, as can be expected.
I loved my Grandmother. She was always interested in me - not just in having me there. Even when I was only six or seven years old she would take me out to dinner and listen for hours while I babbled about the minutiae of a young child’s life.
As for her - she had a hard life. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa fairly young. She was never allowed a driver’s license. She basically began to go blind at 18 - it was probably complete by the time she was 60.
She married an abusive alcoholic. I don’t know much about him. To this day, my mother will not speak of him. I was probably seven years old before I asked her, “hey, mom? Do you have a dad?” She wouldn’t answer. In my entire life (and I’m 28) I’ve seen one photo of my grandfather. Never met him, don’t even know his name. Nobody in the family will speak of him.
She divorced him before I was born. I don’t know if and when he died. The abuse he wrought on them is manisfested in my mother and aunts - my grandmother had three daughters. One has been in and out of prison, one lives in squalor with four children by four different fathers. My mother was very lucky to meet and marry my father, who I think helped her deal with the demons of her past.
All have suffered from depression. Only my mother has managed to scrape together a normal life. I’m very grateful to her - my brother and I have wonderful parents. Despite her terrible past, my mother has been loving and kind to me and my brother for all our lives.
In her later years, grandma (we called her “Tutu”) began to decline. She came to live with us when I was in my early teens. At first it was wonderful - grandma lives here with us! Later, it began to get bad. Grandma began to suffer from dementia. On top of the previous neuroses (most brought about from abuse) it got nearly intolerable.
She couldn’t see. She couldn’t take care of herself. I had moved out a few years past, but I heard through my father that my mother basically spent twenty-four hours a day taking care of grandma. Finally, my mother broke. My parents had her placed in a nursing home.
My mother cried and cried about this difficult decision. We all told her - you did more than anyone else could. You worked yourself to exhaustion taking care of your mother. You were the best daughter anyone could hope for.
It didn’t matter. In her own eyes, my mother betrayed her mother. My mom visited grandma every day for five years. Her sisters never visited her once. My mom paid for the best nursing home in the city (maybe state) and spent at least an hour a day there, every day, for the last five years. And she still is devastated with guilt.
Grandma was in a bad state for at least three years. I last visited two years ago. She was completely blind. The dementia I had noticed ten years ago had pretty much completely rendered her helpless. She was heavily sedated under pain and mental medication.
It’s sad for me. I loved my grandmother. At the same time, I feel guilty - I’m not broken up. She lived such a hard life, I feel more relief that she’s finally at peace.
Who I am sad for is my mother. When I spoke with her just a a few minutes ago she was inconsolable. She feels terrible guilt about putting grandma in a nursing home.
So this is MPSIMS. I’ll just say:
Grandma, we all loved you. You didn’t deserve the hard life you had to live. You were always good to me; I really loved the time we spent together. Thank you for spending time with me. I hope you find some rest now.
Mom - you did more than anyone could be expected. You were a wonderful daughter. You showed more love to grandma more than anyone else in this world. She was lucky to have such a caring daughter.
Rest in peace, Grandma. I hope the next world is better to you than this one was. You deserve better. Thank you for all the time you spent with us.