I find it amusing in a gallows humour kind of way that when surrounded by family members, with an incredibly loving wife available via a variety of mediums, and a whole host of understanding friends ready to lend an ear; I find myself turning to my blog — a blog which I have been woefully neglectful, of late, to try and work through my feelings.

I guess I’m a writer at heart after all. Who knew?

On a variety of levels I have been anticipating writing this post for years, and recently it has been clear that it would be coming sooner rather than later.

My grandmother, Marie Joyce Elward or “Gigi” to her family, lies in the next room, dying.

This is the grandmother that I have spoken about a multitude of times in this very blog and who I named my daughter after. The woman who opened her home to me so completely that I really did live there more than once. The woman who was so kind-hearted that literally every friend that I have ever introduced to her has asked after her health ever since in genuine concern and interest (be it months, years, or even decades later). The woman who told me my first dirty joke, along with my other other grandmother, Sherry Burt (who passed just over two years ago).

Gigi has not been doing well for a few years. My mother has been taking care of her, lately with growing help from my aunt and a variety of in-home nursing staff. But about a month ago she had a seizure. Then two more. She went from walking (mostly) on her own, talking, and eating to doing none of these in the space of a few days. Since then it has been a direct decline to no longer remembering how to swallow. Now, we wait. And hold her hand. And wonder what the right thing to do is in these situations.

Like everyone else in the world, I do not handle loss and death well. My entire family has been taking turns gathering and disbursing in her house, talking in the kitchen and quietly stroking her hair in the bedroom. Now that I fixed the WiFi, I’ve even taken to working here. Somehow just being here makes the fact that I don’t know how to say good bye a little less obscene.

Like it is my penance.

 

My Grandmother, my mother, my sister, and my niece. A project for a photography class I took about 5 years ago.
Four Generations: My Grandmother, my mother, my sister, and my niece. A project for a photography class I took about 5 years ago.

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