Knowing that each of us has an expiration date does not make it any easier when we’re told that the end is near for a family member or a friend – even if that person is 99 years old. I got that phone call earlier today from a hospice nurse about my Grandmother. She hasn’t been able to eat more than a bite or 2 of food at a time, and she’s been sleeping pretty much since Thanksgiving.
And the nurse said she was too weak to speak to me even if she brought Nana the phone. That’s when I broke down because anyone who knows Nana – knows that the only thing in this universe that would stop her from talking would be if the Grim Reaper himself was hovering about her bed.And the nurse kept using the word “declining”, which I tend to think of as a hospice buzz word synonymous with dying. I remember hearing that term a few days before my mother passed away.
I was absolutely miserable when Nana lived with us for two very long years, i.e. check out Post #1 about what she said to me when my mother was terminally ill @ https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com
And/or this post about Nana’s back-handed racisim @ https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com. However, I found myself sobbing on the way to the grocery store where I went to fax some paperwork to hospice in order to secure her care for however long she has left.
Ten minutes, I was told for the confirmation that the fax went through to Vitas Hospice’s office. Ten. Long. Minutes trying not to start crying again in front of total strangers. And then, a miracle happened. I decided I’d treat myself to my favorite dessert, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. On my way to the beloved freezer holding my creamy comfort in a 1/2 gallon box, I realized that God knew how sad I would be at this moment, and a miracle occurred that caused me to break into a wide smile despite my melancholy mood…
ALL OF MY FAVORITE ICE CREAM TREATS WERE ON SALE…:) And the Skinny Cow was buy one get one FREE! I don’t think that’s every happened that I can recall.
So, despite the fact that I started bawling again in my car on the way home, I realized life really is about the little things. The ice cream miracle. The fact that my husband does the dishes without me asking him to do so as well as watching the hilarious antics of my cats, one of whom has learned to lock herself in the bathroom when she wants some downtime from the other 2 cats (funny story for another day).
And last but not least, the incredible euphoria I experience every single time I go to the beach (any beach, Florida, California, New Jersey, doesn’t matter), and I sit staring at the vast expanse of water roaring to and fro in front of me. There’s nothing in this world that I enjoy more (as far as leisure activities, that is) than lying on the beach on a hot and sunny day…except maybe lying on the beach with a good book.
And I wondered if any of those wonderful moments that Nana has experienced over her nearly 100 years were ruminating through her mind as she drifts away from this world. I hope so. And I decided that I was going to remember Nana as the crazy redheaded woman who spoiled me rotten every time we came to visit…who so loved the hairstyle shown in the photo below…which I never really understood but Nana never really understood my love of science fiction and zombie movies either…:) That said, even though she and I are very different in a lot of ways, she taught me a very valuable life lesson – just by the way she lived her life. And I’m sure she doesn’t even realize what I’ve gleaned from her in this respect.
In that, the most important ingredient to happiness is to be true to yourself. And it’s okay if you’re not like other women, or other people in general. Nana was the FIRST woman in her family and among her friends who worked after she got married.
A year or so after my mother was born, Nana took a job at the company store. My mother grew up in the coal fields of West Virginia. And Nana got to know the manager of the company store at church, and he mentioned that he needed a part-time clerk. My grandmother eagerly took the job, not because she needed the money, but because she WANTED to work. And she eventually became the manager of the store.
She wasn’t happy sitting around the house all day cleaning and changing diapers. And this was in 1936! Such just wasn’t done, but Nana did it! She didn’t care what other people thought about it either. My grandfather was shocked and confused, but he knew Nana well enough to know that it didn’t do any good to argue with her or to try to dissuade her from whatever she wanted. She was going to do it anyway. And she worked until she was 78 years old. She retired 3 times before she finally decided it was time to give work a rest.
I hope that I’m able to see Nana again before she’s ushered from this world. When taking care of Nana got to be too much, and she needed full-time care, she didn’t want to be in a nursing home here in Ohio where I live because she hates the weather here. She requested to move back down South where she’d lived for more than 50 years.
So, we put her in a nursing home about 5 miles from the house where she had lived from 1976 until she moved in with me and my husband in 2011. And they’ve taken very good care of her though they refer to her as “the Diva”, which is more than appropriate because I’ve never encountered anyone more spoiled than she is, God Bless Her…:) And there are quite a few posts herein that will more than quantify that nickname.
And so with that, I will say adieu so that I can make travel plans to see the crazy redhead one more time before her lights go out in Georgia for the last time.
Over and out from CASA DE CRAZY…
~TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies