she did okay.

"if this didn’t kill me, it won’t kill her," said my mother of taking my grandmother to the funeral of her dead son, the first child she’s ever lost.

she was right. we are all alive, each to our own varying degrees.

i got there late and missed her seeing the body for the first time. i was told that she was very upset, but she was settled when i saw her, sitting in the front pew flanked by my mother and niece, face frozen with confusion inspired by hugs and kisses from family that she doesn’t remember. she gave me the same puzzled look, and it upset me, but i chose to believe she was just overwhelmed. she’s never forgotten me before.

* * *

i wasn’t there when they told her that her son was dead. i heard it was rough. she wailed, she yelled, she cried. she later grabbed the beer that another of her sons was drinking and gulped (without choking, which has not been possible since she had her first stroke).

"ernest gone home?" she kept asking. yes, mama. he’s gone home.

"i wanna go home, too."

(she has wanted to go home for a long, long time.)

she was asked if she wanted to go to the funeral. my niece, who was here next to her when i couldn’t be, promised to stay right next to my grandmother at the funeral. “don’t leave me,” she’d said. and she didn’t.

i sat behind them. my grandmother kept her eyes closed, as she usually does, nodding her head to the gospel music around her. she clutched my mother’s hand and swirled it through the air between them during ‘his eye is on the sparrow.’ tears flowed, but not from her. as the ceremony went on, my mother and niece went from holding my grandmother to keep her together to holding on to her to keep themselves afloat.

i leaned up and told my niece that if she needed a break, she could go and i’d take her seat. she said she was fine. watching the three of them, i felt relief seasoned with a few flakes of jealousy.

they’re okay.they dont need you anymore.

its what i need, but not at all what i want.

* * *

had this happened a year ago, she would have been inconsolable, but she is much less aware of the present now, and that softened the blow. its good because this new space she’s in sheltered her from the full tempest of her grief, but it scares me because i know its a space that will claim more and more of her as time wears on.

much has changed. the biggest change will come next week.

"they’ve decided to grant mama admission," said my mother of the senior living facility she’s been trying to secure. there were tears in her voice. i heard the words but didn’t react to them because i could not sort out what i was feeling.

we had been worried that she wouldn’t be accepted because she has been labeled mobile, though she isn’t — she does not walk on her own at all, must be lifted from her walker into and out of chairs and her bed, arms stretched upward like a toddle being reached for — and now that it is confirmed that she will be leaving her home, we feel … sad. i know it makes sense to be sad, and we always expected that we would be sad, but even so, that sadness is surprising.

my mother walked to the kitchen. i gave her a few moments to wipe dry her eyes before i followed after her and threw my arms around her as she gazed out the kitchen window.

"you’re doing the right thing," i told her. she breathed deep and plead her case to a sympathetic jury, one who had already voted to acquit her of the crimes she feels guilty of — incompetence, selfishness, laziness.

"i feel like such a failure," she said, more to herself than to me. "but i can’t keep her here. she’s not safe. i can’t get her to eat. am i supposed to let her stay here and starve herself?"

she feels that if only she had more help from her siblings, my grandmother would be able to stay here in her home for as long as she wants, but it isn’t true. this moment was inevitable, and i told her so. there are people who go to school for years to take care of old folks. the longer the lives, the worse she will get, and the worse she gets the further out of our untrained, well-intentioned hands she will be.

"i don’t even know what i’ll do with myself," she said. she has forgotten herself, the woman she was before she had to put herself second. she has been caring for my mother for well over 10 years. as her mother leaves this house, her only daughter will be leaving the city, headed for new york.

we’re a lot alike, my mother and i. we share the same temper, sense of humor, lips, body shape, guilt.

* * *

i am at my mother’s house now. i spent much of the day crying and i imagine that my mother is out doing the same.

my grandmother spends most of the time she spends outside her bed in a recliner in the living room, foot rest up so she can’t get out of it and fall and break a hip or two. she was there, me on the couch, when she began to moan and call for my mother, then for me. i’d answer, she’d say nothing. she’d call again. i’d ask what she wants, she’d answer ‘i don’t know.’

'are you hurting? do you need to lay down?'

'do i need to lay down?' she parroted. i gathered her out of the chair, sat her in her walker, pushed her to her bed and sat her on its edge.

'lay down, mama.' she didn't move. 'mama, lay down.' nothing. she sat with her eyes closed, head nodding, chewing on her finger, per usual. i called her again, then again and again. she didn't respond. she was so unresponsive, in fact, i thought she may have been slipping into another seizure.

i tapped her lightly on the side of her face to get her to open her eyes. ‘mama. mama!’ she looked at me. ‘can you hear me? mama, i need you to talk to me.’

'i need you to talk to me,' she repeated.

i spent the next 25 minutes trying to instruct her to lay down. as i commanded, she’d look down, but never lay. i patted her pillow. ‘put your head here. lay your head right here.’ she leaned toward the pillow, propped herself up on her elbow, but never laid down.

i didn’t want to let it go. i didn’t want to believe that she’s incapable of laying herself down. earlier, i brought her a pudding cup and gave her the spoon to hold while i opened it. she began tugging on the spoon, “trying to open it,” she said. we can laugh at things like that. forgetting how to lay down, not being able to get us to talk to us or articulate what it is she’s feeling hurts. its getting worse rapidly.

we are losing her. we’re losing her. soon she will be locked inside herself. this will happen whether she is in her home or in a facility. we can’t stave it off.

i’m hoping that she will deal with this as well she did the funeral.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

3 notes

i don’t want to write this.

i dont want to expend the energy required to sort through my thoughts, to find words to make them pretty.

my Uncle E, my mother’s brother, is dead. tomorrow we have to tell my grandmother that one of her three sons died and is being buried on thursday. by “we” i mean my mother. several family members don’t agree with her decision to tell her. when my mother talks about it, her face darkens, what is left of her eyebrows flattens. “that is her son,” she says. “i know my mother. she would want to know.”

we are losing control of things. a couple of weeks ago i began an entry about how its getting harder and harder for us (read: my mother) to care for my grandmother. she is nearly immobile now. she cannot stand or sit by herself, so she must be watched 24 hours of the day, literally, or she falls. if she falls the wrong way, she breaks a hip, she cuts an artery. anything can happen. it’s getting harder and harder to get her to eat, even sweets. she doesn’t swallow well. we can’t keep her. we cannot keep her at home, and admitting that is to admit that this thing - life - really is out of our hands.

and now we have to tell her that her son is dead.

i understand why my brother and some of my aunts and uncles don’t want to tell her. they think it will kill her, literally, similar to how i think that when we finally put her in a home, she’ll die of a broken heart. when i was in college, two of my cousins committed suicide within months of each other. when we told her, i thought i was watching her die, and she was so much stronger then. 

beyond that, its another attempt at control, of staving off something that could be really horrible. as if we can stop those things from happening. as if any of it was ever in our hands to begin with.

i told my mother that i trust her, that i am in her corner 100%, that no matter what she decides because she is the one who sacrificed the most, of all of us. i gave up my life in philadelphia to come home to help, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the way my mother rearranged her entire life and let go of everything she ever wanted. this decision is hers as far as i, one of my uncles, and my niece are concerned. but i won’t pretend that i’m not nervous that the stress of it will land her in the hospital, or worse (in addition to my grandmother’s son, my aunt’s common law husband, Uncle C, died 24 hours before my uncle).

when my blood uncle died after my commonlaw uncle, my mother moved to comment that death comes in threes. i jumped to stop her.

***

when Uncle C passed, i was saddened, but not upset because we knew it was coming — he was nearly as old as my grandmother, had narrowly escaped bouts with spinal and brain cancer, and had decided to die. he had his doctors stop his treatments and medications and moved himself into hospice care. he made the call. it was in his hands, and knowing that someone had reign over Forever kept us from panic. but when Uncle E died, we were reminded us of the truth. 

some days i am a storm; others, the calm before it. i spend my days trying to get the wails of Uncle E’s brothers and sisters out of my mind, obsessively praying for the wellbeing of the people i love, and wondering what to do with the rest of my time on earth. i dont deal well with death, but the sudden death of Uncle E shook me to my core.

my brother and i basically grew up without fathers, me meeting mine at 7 and seeing him sparsely after that, and my brother never knowing his. my mother’s brothers were our fathers. they were the men in our lives, just as my mother’s uncles stepped in to help my grandmother raise her kids after her husband left her. 

i have a general fear of the people i love dying but i never considered losing any of my aunts or uncles. it never seemed possible that my grandmother would outlive any of them, and something in me is convinced that she has another 20 years in her. i’ve said goodbye to my grandmother for what i assumed would be the last time at least two times in my life, and she surprised us each time. 

i feel afraid. of what will happen to my grandmother when we tell her, of what will happen to my family if anything does happen to her. of having to go to the funeral and look my own mortality in the face. i oscillate between thinking that i need to get my life together now, right now, while i have the time, while i am of able body and sound mind, and focusing on what feels good, on enjoying life. i can’t stop telling the people in my life how i feel about them, can’t stop what-iffing. 

when this happened, i was agonizing over my upcoming move to new york, trying to convince myself that this is the thing to do in the face of my mother and grandmother growing older, of me being happy and comfortable where i am after trying to get here for so long. now i barely know which way is up. 

and through all of this, i feel guilty for thinking of myself and how i am impacted by this at all.two uncles dead, my grandmother headed to a nursing home, and i can’t stop thinking about what to do with the rest of my time here on earth.

***

we have had some uncomfortably happy days in the wake of Uncle E’s passing. 

all of my grandmother’s children, save the one we lost, have been congregating at her house, supporting each other, moving busily about to avoid the silence that reminds us of the stillness that now dwells in place of Uncle E’s too-loud laugh. my brother came to town, cooked for everybody, walked through the house singing (very, very, poorly). a social worker came in once to talk with my mother about finding a home for my grandmother, who, in the midst of it all, sat oblivious in the living room as we made arrangements that she would never take quietly if she knew about them.

but she didn’t. she doesn’t. yet.

***

my grandmother is still in there.

i dont want this news kept from her because i don’t want to have to keep her from it. i don’t want that to be our reality. i dont want for her to be so far gone that she won’t be able to survive this very normal and necessary part of life. this is a selfish take. this is me still trying to control things that are completely out of my hands, as futile as trying to shield her from it.

"i know my mother," says my mom. "if this didn’t kill me, it will not kill her."

i pray with every piece of my heart that she is right.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

11 notes

v for victor

the morning began modestly enough. i got to my mom’s house later than i was supposed to and when i walked in, there my grandmother sat at her usual seat at the dining room table.


“hi, baby.”


“hey, mama. we’re late so we gotta move fast, okay?” my mother had an appointment with her eye doctor to determine whether or not she’d need another cornea transplant, bringing her to a grand total of 4. we were going to drop my grandmother off at the adult care center at a church about three miles from our home, a short drive away. i did the driving since my mother is not yet clear to drive, thanks to her eye problems.


i bustled about the house, using the bathroom, pouring myself a drink of water, quickly looking to see what was on Investigation Discovery. moving ahead, i went out to pull the car out of the driveway and in front of the house so that my grandmother could get in easily. on my way back up the steps, i heard my mother yell, but thought no more of it than i did the robins prattling on in the tree across the street. mornings are trying times, a test of how many times you can repeat yourself before you’re gritting your teeth and thinking of giving up and going back to bed. we often have to shout to get granny to pay attention to us, partly because she doesn’t hear well, mostly (i think) because she has little interest in being bossed around by her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. so, my mother shouting caused me no alarm until i stepped in the front door to see my mother laying in the middle of the floor, eyes closed, resting peacefully.


“what in the world??” i asked. my 20-year-old niece was on the couch giggling in her pajamas, my mother standing over my grandmother saying, “for god’s sake, what are you doing?”


i panicked. she had taken a nasty tumble at the care center just three days before and she kept a sore back and a bump on the back of her noggin as souvenirs. recent months have seen a deterioration in her mobility; her gait is just a bit more stooped, and her balance is off. “what happened?” i asked, fearing the beginning of a trend that could disrupt all our routines. my mother stood with her hands on her hips, looking down and shaking her head. “did she fall?” i asked my niece.


“no,” she said in between laughing gasps, “she gave up.”


apparently my grandmother, in the midst of my mother trying to coordinate her movements well enough to get her out of the front door (“okay, mama, let’s go, wait, put your shoe on all the way so you don’t fall, okay, grab your walker, not your cane, mama, your walker, MAMA please pay attention to me, i need you to grab your walker, no, not me, your walker, mama, let go of my shirt and hold on to your walker, wait, wait okay forget the walker, just walk towards the door, i’ve got you, mama, i got you, let go of my shirt, mama, mama!”) when in the middle of trying to follow her instructions, she sat down. let her muscles go and just sat down, right in the middle of the floor, then reclined when my mother let her go.


i pulled her upright and looked at her. “mama, you gonna stay down there all day?”


“uh huh,” she said, shaking her head in the affirmative and chuckling just a bit.


it was a morning that gave us a choice: be angry and upset at the near-fall that could very well be indicative of a growing problem with either her morale or her physical strength, or laugh. collectively, we chose to laugh. with my mother’s pending eye surgery, we had enough to fret about.


—-   —-   —-


we took chestnut street from the west end of the city from the east, and when we crossed the intersection at 26th street or so, i began telling my mother about the motorcycle accident i saw there the day before. a man was showing out on his bike when he lost control in the middle of a wheelie, spinning out and hitting the ground in a ball of dust and limbs and motorcycle parts. i haven’t been party to many accidents or emergencies, and since panic is my default emotion, i hopped right to it. i threw the car i park, hit my hazard lights and jumped out, closing the door behind me. seeing that everything and everyone was okay, i walked back to the car, worrying that i had locked my keys inside.


my mother, as she often does, told me what i should have done instead: turn the car completely off, take the key out of the ignition, lock the doors. she was right, of course, and i’d told myself the same as i hopped back in the car and drove off after the accident. i’d reacted without thinking logically, and i assured her that next time — if there was to be a next time — i’d be sure to stay calm and in control.


that next time came about 10 minutes later in the church parking lot. i sat in the car piddling around on my phone while my mother walked my grandmother along the side of someone’s car and a row of bushes. in the middle of tweeting about how my granny had had her second fall in a handful of days, i noticed my grandmother slump in my mother’s arms, nearly falling down into the bushes beside her.


frantically, i walked myself through the getting-out-of-the-car-in-an-emergency procedure, shaking and cursing the whole time. put car in park; remove key from ignition, lock doors, get out, shut door. i ran to them, and by the time i reached them another woman around my mother’s age had my grandmother around her waist, helping my mother hoist her up. i knelt in front of my grandmother, whose face and eyes were cast downward. i called out to her, taking her face in my hands, stroking her face. i took a moment to realize that this was not her typical lazy delay; she was unresponsive, chin glued to her chest, eyes wide and frozen in an unseeing stare.


“something is wrong,” i said, watching a thin rope of saliva dance from her poked-out bottom lip. “she’s not responding to me.”


“i know,” said my mother, “keep trying, see if you can get her to come to.” i gave her a few light raps on the side of her face, kept calling out to her. i didn’t panic until i noticed a tear clinging to her right eye, flirting with the bridge of her nose. was she hurting? was she in pain and unable to tell us? was she sad that this was happening and frustrated with fighting to make it stop?


was i watching my grandmother die?


i looked into the gray clouds pooling in her eyes and felt cold noticing how much they looked like the brown trout eyes stuck in the heads of my mother’s catches, dull, plastic. then, in a flash, they were clear and moving again. i spoke louder. she kept her eyes on me, but said nothing.


“call 911, tracy. we’ve got her.”


dialing, i remembered the one other time in my life i had to call 911. i was a kid and my grandmother had just learned that her second grandchild had committed suicide in as many months. a heart patience, she got too worked up, struggled to breathe, and fainted. my mother sent me to the phone and all i could do was blurt out my grandmother needs help!


this time i kept a calm tongue, but my mind was a cage of rioting magpies. there is no delicate way to say that i have thought about my grandmother’s death, and not always with sadness. she will go, i have thought, quietly, and we will mourn quietly and will slip quietly back into the lives we knew before she became old and ill and that will be that. it will be over. but with it here in my lap, inches from my face, my heart was anything but quiet. what will we do without her? it chanted as it tried to claw its way out of my chest. what will we do? what will we do?


the paramedics arrived and by the time they were done checking her vital signs — all of which were fine — my grandmother was cussing at being fussed over and asking for coffee, as if she’d never left.


we decided to take my grandmother with us to my mom’s eye doctor, where she and i would wait in the car while she went in and got checked out. for us, who lust for spontaneity in guilty fantasies, who remember freedom as a reckless old lover, my grandmother’s presence on this trip hung heavy in the air. there will soon be a time when we won’t be able to transport her, to risk her seizing (that’s what happened in the parking lot, and perhaps that morning, too) and falling and breaking a hip or worse. one day we won’t be able to leave her at the church while we condense a week’s worth of errands into a few hours. soon she won’t be able to walk at all, and we’ll have something more to feel resentful and guilty over.


this getting old thing is a war of living versus living happily.


on the car ride to the eye doctor, my mother made calls to various doctors and sitters for my grandmother, trying to find someone who may be able to help us understand my grandmother’s seizures and what to do about them. when she spelled out her name to be included in messages, she began with “‘V’ as in ‘victor.”


i pray that she is right.


—-   —-   —-

 

as we pulled out of the church parking lot, i told my mother that i remembered to turn off the car before i got out to save the day.


“you forgot to lock all the doors” she said. “my wallet was on the seat; someone could have stolen it.”

 

in a feared corner of my heart, i feel certain i’ll get this emergency thing down soon enough.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

4 notes

the battle, the war

this is a rant that i’ve already written 100 times before.—-

It is a complete war of feeling and mind. You stand in the midst of a deluge with a broken umbrella, aware of why you’re getting wet, knowing full well that you can’t do anything about it, but still you’re deeply angry. You bite the inside of your cheek until it bleeds and swing with balled fists at the droplets stinging your forehead. It would bide you just as well to stand and make the best of it, and this is what your mind tells you. But your heart, your furious, riotous heart demands a change in the way of things, the moving of a mountain as old as time.

And so you stand, soaked and angry to the marrow, jaws sore from gritting you can’t control.

——

I’ve been staying with my grandmother this week while my mother is in Indiana visiting with my brother. I’m no stranger to this, but the task has become more tedious since I lived here and was in her charge every day. Things have changed. Her memory hasn’t gotten any worse, but her cognition is weakening. She forgets the order of things and, if you don’t watch her, will pour coffee into the sugar bowl instead of her mug. Some time ago, my mother told me that she saw my grandmother putting her wrist watch in her mouth with a befuddled face, having intended to put in her dentures. Yesterday during lunch, she spread a hefty forkful of tuna into the top that came off her bottle of Ensure and bit into it, meaning to get a cracker.

She hasn’t been able to live alone for years, but it’s getting to the point that we have to watch her nearly every minute, literally; whenever she isn’t in her room, we must know where she is and what she’s doing. If she’s in the kitchen alone, she’ll put her unwashed hands in any food that happened to be left out; if she goes to get crackers from the box herself, she’ll open a brand new sleeve each time, leaving those already opened to go stale; if she sits on the porch by herself, she’s liable to pitch headfirst over the side or down the steps, bending over to pick up some minute speck of chipped paint or flower petal. If she’s in the bathroom alone, she won’t always wash her hands and will never use soap. If she leaves her bedroom without getting her walker, she’ll toddle through the house stooped over, bracing herself with anything she can get her hands on—picture frames on the side tables in the living room, the flat screen TV, the glass baker’s rack full of breakable glass knickknacks (my mother recently dismantled it).

The first two days were easy, but by Wednesday, my nerves were being rubbed pretty raw. Every time I heard the rumble of her walker from the hardwood of her room to the carpet in the living room, I pushed a deep, cleansing sigh from my lungs, when just the day before it was easy to spring to my feet, float to her and chirp, “Whatcha doin, mama? Where you goin?” Last night, I’d say a prayer for patience before she poked her head into my mother’s room, where I’ve been camped, and ask for coffee at 5 in the afternoon or something sweet after already eating 3 pudding cups.

Now, my face frowns so that my eyebrows nearly touch. After a few consecutive days of being at home, my grandmother restless and antsy; the lack of structure and routine makes it easy to forget what time of day it is, when you’re supposed to do things. Today, she has been crawling the walls of this house, living room to dining room to kitchen and back again. With my new job, I had lots of writing to do today, and doing it was nearly impossible with the constant interruptions.

She wants to be social, but small talk is difficult for her. We can’t talk about what she sees on the news, because she can’t remember it if any of it sinks in at all. With nothing to talk about, she keeps the same questions on rotation. Where you goin? Where you been? Have you seen (name of one of her children) lately? What time is it? Where you goin? What day is it? Can I get you somethin’? Anything you need? I can’t buy you nothin’? I can get you anything you want! You sure?

I tried sitting at the table with my grandmother just so that we could share the same space, rather than me being in my mother’s bedroom and my granny in hers. I had to get up and leave because every two minutes — literally, I timed it — she asked me those last 4 questions, repeatedly, without fail. It seems horrible to lose patience with someone who just wants to help, but if you ask anybody anything repeatedly every two minutes, they’ll get at least a little pissed, no matter who it is. Right?

(…Right?)

I know that’s probably true, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like the worst person on earth.

This is a war or feeling and mind.

—-

She is loving me to death.

Her “I love yous” are not happy, cheery ones. She says them peering through a concerned, nearly terrified face, and I wonder what she’s afraid of. That I don’t understand just how much she loves me? That I don’t love her back?

They make me uncomfortable and I get them all the time. I once tried to count how many times she told me she loved me in a single day and I lost count at 52. She interrupts me often for hugs, which I always give, but after the 10th I give them quickly, halfheartedly, because I know what’s coming next. She’ll her hand on my leg and get inches from my face. Her eyes spread wide until her whole face is two watery pools of alarm. Her naked brow furrows and she stabs her eyes into mine and says with a little whine, I love you.

‘I love you too, Mama.’ I look quickly away.

So much.

‘I love you so much, too. I gotta finish this, okay?’ or ‘Why don’t you go see what’s on Judge Judy today?’ I have to get away from this, from the reminder of where we are: the rank smell of the dentures she forgot or refused to clean before she went to bed, the wet mouth, the remnants of whatever she just finished eating clinging to and falling from her chin. I indulge her hungry heart for as long as I can, then I spend the day running, trying my best to hide in the lines of my to-do list.

Today, a nurse came by to collect a urine sample from her. Before she left, she patted my grandmother’s shoulder and said thank you. My grandmother reached out and grabbed her arm, hugged it, and then kissed it. The nurse was charmed nearly beyond words.

‘Oh, she is such a sweetheart!’

Yes, she is.

‘You’re very, lucky to have her.’

A fire crackles to life in my feet and engulfs me slow, shame charring the last of me from the inside out.

—-

What kind of heartless motherfucker gets mad at being loved?

Do you know how many people would kill to have their grandparents back again? How many never got to meet theirs? Of her 87 years on this earth, you’ve been blessed to see 31 of them and if you’re lucky, you’ll see 10 more.

One day it will be too late.

When this stalemate is finally over, you will hate yourself. You’ll be able to think of nothing but the list of things you did wrong, the kisses you dodged, the hugs you kept to yourself and you’ll feel so small. You’ll think about how you deserve to die old and alone because karma works that way, doesn’t it? You’ll forget the laughs and the hugs and the sweet moments you did share because what do those matter in the end? You’ll wonder if you did your best and whether you have or not, you’ll be convinced that you barely even tried. You will beg for one more chance to do the things that you, right now, can stand up, walk two rooms over and do.

You know this.

But you just inhaled sharply at the sound of her bedroom door opening and hoped for her to sit down at the table rather than toddle in here without her walker even though you’ve told her a million times not to leave her room without it, face smudged with banana or pudding or whatever she’s had, standing in between you and whatever is more important right now.

This is a war of man versus time

This is a battle that no one will win

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

6 notes

i remember when coffee was a battleground.

i’ve written about it here a few times.  of any and everything else, grandmother must have her coffee or else, Katy bar the door.  it’s still that way, but the explosion is different.  before when there was no coffee, she fought.  she screamed and raged and threw things.  now, she settles into anxiety, asks for is on constant repeat and eventually retreats to her room to cry.

you wouldn’t think you’d ever have to supervise someone pouring herself a cup of coffee, but over the past couple of years, we’ve had to.  i’ve noticed the lapses in cognizance creep in slowly.  first, she’d pour a cup and forget to put sugar in it.  then, she’d open every cabinet and cupboard in the kitchen looking for the sugar, which always sits next to the coffee maker.  then she began fixing her cup of coffee and returning to the table without it.  this meant a return to the kitchen, but forgetting on the way that there’s already a cup waiting and getting a fresh cup.  soon, there would be 5 piping hot cups of coffee in the kitchen and a confused 86 year old woman at the table wondering why we’re taking so long bringing her her brew.

prior to that, she forgot how to use the microwave.  my brother, in his days of being an electrician’s apprentice, screwed up the wiring somehow, so we can only use it for 45 seconds at a time because otherwise, it blows the circuit and the electricity goes out in the entire house.  in the beginning, she’d set the microwave for 10 minutes to heat a few swallows of coffee, and we’d have to stomp outside to the fuse box in all manner of weather, cussing and fussing all the way.

then she took to eating an entire spoonful of sugar before pouring one into her coffee cup.  “just to see if it’s sweet,” she said.  since then, she’s had her own personal sugar bowl due to our aversion to having to navigate clumps of sugar likely bound together by an old woman’s saliva. 

 we’re still trying not to do it for her—we want her to be as independent as she can for as long as she can, and when she fell ill, getting her own coffee was something she prided herself in.  so now, instead of doing it for her, we walk in behind her and pretend to busy ourselves with other things—wiping down a counter, pouring a glass of water—to make sure the operation goes smoothly. 

but we can’t watch her every second of every minute, not with other life in the house to live.  last month, my mother told me that my grandmother got confused and poured her coffee into the sugar bowl rather than the coffee mug laid out for her.  that was funny, she said.  they had a laugh about that, and i laughed when my mother told me about it.

a few days later, she said she put flour in her coffee instead of sugar.  we laughed about that, too, but not as hard.

last week, my mother called me with a marked weariness in her voice, saying that this time, my grandmother managed to put a bunch of coffee grounds in her cup and she sat spitting them out, all over the table, all over the floor, for hours.  my mother sat and tried to explain to my grandmother that she really did have to try harder to hold on, and i felt a piercing in my heart.  she spoke with such pleading, such helplessness.  as she spoke, i caught a little of what she said, but mostly my mind drifted, wondering what the scene must have looked like, how it must have felt for them both. 

i tried.  and i think i got it.

———————-

The sound of her spitting is one that drives those around her into an instant rage.  Since her strokes, she doesn’t swallow well, which I understand.  But she spits.  She spits on the floor, she’s spat at me.  I give her napkins for whatever is in her mouth that she wants out, but she wipes her nose with them and puts them in her pocket.  It’s why we can’t take her out to eat anymore.  She chews her food and, best case scenario, she puts it in her hand and tosses it on to her plate.  And we get to try to finish our food looking at a heap of chewed up hamburger or runny, mashed up turkey. 

She has her spot at the head of the table that we walk past in a wide arc because we don’t want to step in whatever she’s spat out onto the floor when no one was looking.  We can’t walk around the house barefoot anymore.  We feel every inch of these small, forced changes every time we hear that ‘p-too! p-too!’ pinging at our eardrums.  This morning, I can’t take it, already.  She woke me and my migraine at 5 am, and I thought I’d be able to trust the coffee pot to keep an eye on her while I went back to sleep.

I stormed out of the room prepared to rage and already feeling bad for it when her face stopped my feet where they were.  She looked confused and panicked, slobber and black stuff waterfalling from the corners of her mouth.  She rubbed at her tongue with a napkin as if trying to remove a stain. 

"Mama?" I said, half alarmed, "what are you doing?"  Was she throwing up bile?  Is this coagulated blood?

"Somethin’ wrong with this coffee!" she said in between spits.

"Wait, wait, wait.  Wait, stop that—let me see your cup.  Mama, stop that!  Stop spitting!"  She paid me no mind.  I grabbed the coffee cup and looked inside.  It was half full of coffee grounds.  Anyone else would have laughed, but I just sighed a tired sigh.  "Mama, how did you even do this?"  When she heard my voice, she turned to look at me and I caught a mouthful of spit and coffee grounds in the center of my t-shirt.  My eyes flashed red.  “Goddamnit!  Look at this!  You do not do that!  You do not spit inside your own house!  Look at this floor, Mama!  LOOK!  Don’t you care about this place?  Why do you treat it this way?? You’re sitting in front of a roll of paper towels and you’re spitting!  Why?  Why?!  I told you to stop!  Stop!!!

She looked sorry, but kept spitting as if she couldn’t help it.  I complained as if she could.

"Why won’t you listen to me, Mama?" I sank into the chair next to her.  "Mama?  Hey.  Hey!  Look at me when I’m talking to you.  Please, look at me."  She glanced at me for a few seconds and went back to her frenzied spitting and wiping.  I watched her quietly.  She took the napkin that had been in her mouth, on her tongue, and started wiping the table with it, spitting all the while.  I grabbed her hands and held them to the table.

"Mama," I pleaded.  "You have to help me."  She looked at me, wide-eyed, confused.  "I want to keep doing this.  Do you hear me?  I want to be here.  I don’t have to be; I am here with you because I love you.”  She turned, spat, looked back at me.  “I want to be here but I can’t keep doing it; not like this.  Not by myself.  None of your other kids are here to help us, Mama.  It’s just me and you.”  She opened her mouth to defend her 5 other children.  I spoke louder because they didn’t deserve it.  “I don’t want to live in a house where we spit on the floors and smear shit all over the toilet seat with our washcloths.  You know better than that.  You’re a grown woman, Mama.  You’re a woman.  Don’t forget your dignity.”  I took stock of my emotions.  I wasn’t angry.  I was tired and defeated and hanging on with the last of my broken fingers and arms and legs and guilt-ridden over it. 

"You just need to try, Mama.  You have to try.  Do you hear me?  I want you to live in this house until the day you die, but I cannot do that if it continues this way.  Try."

"I do try—"

"You don’t!  You don’t try!  You’ve been here looking me in the face hearing me to tell you to stop spitting for 10 minutes and you’ve done nothing but!  I don’t care that you put coffee grounds in your coffee, but I do care that you’re doing things like this, like spitting on your own floors, the ones you’re so proud about owning.  You can forget how to fix your coffee, but you can not forget how to be an adult.  Okay?  That is not an option.”  I let go of her hands, gave her a new napkin, and she got back to trying to clean the mess she made, still spitting.  Not as much, but  spitting still.

"I’ll get it, Mama," I sighed.  "Just go to your room.  I’ll bring you some more coffee."

She toddled off, leaving a trail of coffee grounds in her wake.  I looked at the sunlight snaking through the yellowing curtains that I haven’t had time to wash in ages and angered at this perfect, unusable chance to cry alone.  No one knows that I’m out of tears. 

I set about cleaning the coffee grounds and droplets of coffee and spittle from the table and cursed every curse I knew.  I volleyed between guilt and anger and was not surprised that the fire burned as hot in either furnace.  I know it isn’t her fault.  I know she can’t help it. 

But it’s not my fault, either. 

I can’t help it, either.

——————————

my mother is thinking of putting my grandmother in a nursing home.  it will be the death of us all, but this is something we’ve always known.
like death, it is something we can’t stave forever.

i do not look forward to it any more than i look forward to daily calls from my mother at her wit’s end.  as caretaker, i support her and her decisions fiercely. 
it is my job.  i am dutiful.
it’s difficult, but far easier than having to be the one to make such decisions.  she is doing what we can’t.  i am in awe and unenvious.

it will be a long time before either of us is brave enough to explore the option in detail, to fully accept the reality. 

until then, i have a few fingers and arms and legs in tact, ready to help hold it together.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

14 notes

#fiction

#kind of

my grandmother mourns everyday.

she sometimes seems to be more frown than smile.  of her reasons to frown, most popular is confusion.  the day of the week, the time of day, the person sitting on her couch.  who is that?  who?  i can’t remember, baby.  i’m sorry.  if you know where to look, you catch the weary sadness that blinks fast across her face before she sends in the heavy artillery—sharp, beaming smiles lobbed like flash grenades at the center of your pupils.  pay no attention to the stooped, forgetful old woman behind the wrinkled curtain of soft, pendulous flesh.  instead, check out this cute, winking queen retired of her throne, resting her cheek in her hand, showing you every tooth she has in her mouth.  how adorable is she?

 

but there is grief before that smile, unmistakable. the recognition that something is missing, something that will not come back.

 

it comes to play in longer stretches when the last drop of coffee is gone every morning, or when her company stands to leave at the end of a visit.  where you goin?  why?  when you comin back?  they, like her morning coffee, will return, but for her, every goodbye seems so final.

 

knowing this, my brother was openly against my mother’s decision to take my grandmother to her nephew’s funeral, my Cousin M.  my grandmother is, and always has been, human-sized heart on legs.  whatever she feels, she feels it with her entire body. it shoots from her eyes springs from her mouth and cascades from her pores and floods the entire room around her.  in church, her voice carried above the choir’s during her favorite songs, and she has one of the worst singing voices i’ve ever heard—flat, obtuse, jagged.  but she couldn’t quiet it if she tried, and she never did. 

 

and she still doesn’t.

 

my brother worried that in her fragile state, her heart—which is less than 25% functional—would give out and she’d literally die of her grief.  it was not at all an unfounded fear.  before the strokes and seizures,  back when she was much stronger, i thought i was watching her die the night we told her that another of her grandchildren was dead by his own hand. she screamed, she cried, she gasped for air, briefly found it, and fell hard against the back of her dining room chair.  my mother shoved me toward the phone and told me to call 9-1-1 while she went to find the small vial of nitroglycerine she kept on her dresser.  my fingers managed the buttons.

 

9-1-1, do you have an emergency?

 

yes, i think my grandmother’s—

 

dying?  before i could force the word out of my mouth, my mother pushed me out of the way and took the phone.  i was in college when this happened, so i know i was at least 18 years old, but when i remember it, i am much younger.  9 or 10, small, and completely useless. 

 

remembering that moment, i got scared and agreed with my big brother.  my mother is unmarried and my brother lives in another city, which puts me at number two in the chain of support.  she can’t afford to push me out of the way anymore because i can’t keep it together; it’s now my job to hold my mother up while she does the same for her’s.

 

*   *   *

 

Cousin M. was my grandmother’s sister’s son and he was big into photography.  though he lived nearly 600 miles away, he and his wife were always at every single family function, and he’d barely wait long enough to say hello before he broke out his camera.  the kids—i, my brother, our cousins, and later my nieces—came to loathe that camera and would take off for the basement whenever he’d arrive to try and finish our christmas and thanksgiving dinners before he found us.  Cousin M. didn’t care how hungry you were.  so what if you’d been waiting all day for those yams and dreaming about that macaroni and cheese.  he had a picture to take and you were going to put down the fork and stand next to your mother/brother/sister/cousin and put your hand on his/her shoulder, move closer toward the left, nope, too far, back to the right a little, okay now tilt your head towards him, just a little more, alright, that’s perfect, big smiles on one, two, three, okay now one more.  oh, we *hated* it, and no one was more annoyed by the clicking of that camera than my grandmother.

 

too bad for her, though, because he and his wife absolutely adored her and spending time with her.  there are countless pictures of my grandmother dressed to the 9s, posed, poised, and scowling the meanest scowl you’ve ever see in your life.  but for every one of those, there is one of her bright-faced and smiling, wrinkle-free, chubby, gold-toothed, and alive, so alive, running around Washington, opening presents, wearing clothes that she herself shopped for, washed, ironed, mended, and laid out.   how amazing it is to have proof of her this way.  how jarring and gorgeous it is to watch her look at herself and remember. 

 

no one ever figured that there’d be a day when the clicking would stop. 

 

one of my most important memories came from Cousin M.  my mother’s sister’s branch of the family is markedly different from my grandmother’s.  as my mother and uncle explained, they (my grandmother’s sister’s progeny) were very sweet, non-confrontational people.  my granny’s kids, on the other hand, often went to their cousin’s houses to beat up the kids their non-confrontational cousins had problems with.  their nature, i assume, came from their faith.  they are deeply religious people, the sons and daughters of a pastor, and a few of them pastors themselves.  the second most important thing to them, right after religion, is family, which is why it was nothing for Cousin M. to make the 10 hour drive from virginia to kentucky to see about his folks.

 

he had done just that for a reason i can no longer remember—another relative was in the hospital, or a baby had been born, or they just wanted to say hello—and they stopped by our house on their way back out of town.

 

i’d been back in town for a year, maybe two, having moved back home from the east coast to help my mother care for my grandmother.  i was in a horrible space at the time, stressed, angry, resentful, and not sure that i had made the right choice for myself.  i couldn’t find a job, i had no privacy, i was still suffering through terrible writer’s block, and i felt like i’d successfully made every wrong decision possible i could have possibly made to land me in my mother’s attic nearing 30 years old. 

 

before Cousin M. left the house that day, he walked up to me and asked how things were going.  Cousin M. was a tall man with an even taller presence, and when he spoke, you listened.  i said they were going okay.  i didn’t spill my guts, but i didn’t sugar coat them either.  then he put his arm on my shoulder, looked me in the center of my eyes and said, “i’m proud of you.”  i felt a jolt somewhere in my gut and instantly sat up a little taller.  i thanked him, and he held his gaze until it almost got awkward.  when he finally left, i turned his words and his tone over in my head, and i came to the conclusion that i had won Cousin M.’s respect, and that was a big fucking deal.  an ex-marine, Cousin M. was big on discipline and values, and i knew that impressing him was significant, that it really meant something.

 

for the first time since i’d given up my life to move back home, i felt like i’d made the right decision.

 

i did not at all take that for granted.

 

*  *  *

 

my mother said she decided to take my grandmother to the funeral because it would be wrong to keep her from it.  if it were one of my grandmother’s children, she reasoned, her sister would be there.  if it’s too much for her and we have to take her out, we’ll take her out.  but we need to give her the chance.

 

i agreed with her.  i, too, wanted her to have the chance to make it through the funeral, but more than that, i wanted her to have the chance to live normally.  we grieve when someone dies.  we ache, we rage, we cry.  we are loud and inconsolable and overcome.  but how alive we are in those moments, when we feel.  and she is still alive.  she’s in there, and she is still strong and i often resent the velvet gloves we have to don to handle her.  give her the opportunity to be herself.  this isn’t the same as crying over coffee or a broken tv.  let her feel; let her walk through it, and let us help her when she needs it.  give her the opportunity to be normal.  let her have that.

 

my mother primed her carefully.  she had conversations with her about it every morning during the week prior.  you know the funeral is on monday, right? and you’re going to go and be strong for your sister, right? three more days until the funeral; do you know what you’re going to wear?  do you still want to go?  one more day, mama.  the funeral is tomorrow.

 

i think she was hoping to give her enough time to get through the bulk of her sorrow, but it didn’t work.  her agony was palpable; it played at the tiny hairs inside our ears and tickled the backs of our necks. we waded through it, dodging shards as her shrieks splintered and crashed against the stained glass windows.  she tried to choke down the screams before they left her mouth, like someone with the flu with lungs too sore to cough, but she only really quieted when the choir sang.  we thought she’d come through the worst of it when someone behind her screamed—Cousin M.’s daughter, i think—and she was off again.  and again when they closed the casket.

 

i cain’t see M! she said, loudly—a question more so than a statement.  no, mama.  he’s gone now. aw, yes i can! another pleading question. 

 

once the pastor took to the pulpit and did what he was there to do, i noticed my grandmother’s cries giving way to conversation.

 

i love you, she said loudly to my mother, but i don’t want you to leave me!  i want you to stay with me for ever and ever and ever! 

 

and then,

 

where’s my hat?  i need my hat on my head!

 

followed by,

 

who’s that up there?  i don’t know her.

 

soon my mother leaned over to me and said, “alright, tracy.  she’s getting mean.”  that’s a good sign, i said.  she’s feeling better.

 

she made it.


Cousin M.’s mother (left) and her sister, my grandmother. photo taken by Cousin M. rip.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

3 notes

#grandmother

#writing

#creative writing

my grandmother isn’t afraid of anything.

i can’t think of a single thing she’s afraid of.  seriously and literally.  i’m not exaggerating even a little bit. 

well, i guess these days, she’s afraid of being alone—she gets anxious when anyone stands from their seat and obsessively asks “where you goin?” when they move to exit a room she’s in.but that’s not her though.  that’s what time and strokes have given to her.  but my *real* grandmother, the her that is buried beneath the anxious obsessions is literally scared of nothing.

she always did the dirty work, my grandmother.  when i was a kid, my mother was too squeamish to pull my teeth when it was time, and i was not about to tie a string to any of my teeth and sit while someone slams a door to yank it out.  so, when my mother couldn’t take any more of my wiggling a dangling tooth, she sent me to my grandmother.

"my tooth is really loose," i’d say to her.

"let’s see."

"don’t pull it!"

"i ain’t.  let’s see."

and every time, i’d open up, point to the tooth, and she’d have it in my hand before i had time to protest.  that happened with each and every tooth.  i’d tell her not to pull it, she’d promise not to, i’d believe her, then she’d yank it.  quick & dirty, in the middle of what ever she was doing.

i feel uneasy remembering this, because something else she isn’t afraid of is germs.  washing her hands was hardly paramount to her, and it really should have been, given her pastimes:  tending to her endless rosebushes she grew in the backyard (without gardening gloves), cleaning the fish & rabbits her brother brought by the house after his trips to the lake; cutting corns and callouses from her feet with her pocket knife; mindlessly picking her nose while watching her favorite shows.  from her hands to my mouth, with no pit stops.  i’m pretty sure that has something to do with my current germaphobism.

i always figured that she wasn’t used to having the time to stop for things as trivial as hand washing—raising six kids on your own, there was always a mouth to feed, a fight to break up, a meal to cook.  i wish she was afraid of them, though.  or at least wary of them.  something i’ve been wanting to write about here is barriers, things that make me hesitant to get physically close to her.  the main thing is hygiene.  we see to it that she bathes regularly, of course, but there are the little things she doesn’t bother with anymore—eating neatly, keeping her nose clean.  but i’m afraid of painting an unappealing picture of my grandmother and of aging:  a weathered, sallow mass, face always slick with unchecked snot, thick streams of chewed food cascading from the corners of her mouth during meals; swollen, leathery fingertips from constant nervous gnawing; the dank smell of who knows what kind of bacteria incubating on her tongue because she won’t wash her hands before putting them in her mouth after using the bathroom.  i don’t want that to be what anyone pictures when they read about her here.  i don’t want that to be what waits for my mother or myself if we are blessed enough to make it to her age.  i don’t want to acknowledge that part.

but i guess i just did.

i digress.

anyway, she’s not afraid of anything, my grandmother, in her youth or today.  that lasting fearlessness comes in handy, because what we are afraid of, she faces for us just as easily now as she did in her able body.  especially various and sundry critters—rodents, bugs, spiders.  i’ve seen her kill huge, menacing looking spiders with the bare palm of her hand without blinking.  and mice.  oh, lord, the mice.

our house is old, and the wooden cellar door had been waiting to die for most of my childhood.  during the cold months, little field mice would gnaw at weak, rotting spots in the door and slip in to try and wait out the winter in our basement.  my mother wasn’t having that, though. the list of things that she is afraid of is very, very short, but mice undoubtedly own the top spot.  so, she’d put down snap traps and sticky glue pads each winter.  i hated them.  it’s not that i liked the mice—i didn’t.  but there are few things more traumatizing than listening to the panicked death shrieks of a mouse stuck on a glue trap while trying to watch cartoons mickey mouse cartoons.  except, maybe, looking around for a barbie doll and instead finding a nearly decapitated mouse head in a pile of blood and guts. 

it became unbearable when i looked at a mouse, frozen prostrate on a glue trap, and noticed that it was actually kind of cute.  i once tried to convince my mother to take one of the poor bastards off the trap and set it free in a park somewhere, not understanding why taking it off the trap was impossible.  i can’t remember if my mother explained it to me, but if she hadn’t i got the message loud and clear after i told my granny about the mouse.  since she was fearless and apparently indestructible, we left mouse disposal up to her.  i followed her at 10 paces as she went to get the trap, then stood in the door watching as she took the mouse out back, leaned over the railing of our deck, grabbed its thrashing tail and ripped half of its body off the trap.  then she very causally tossed the free portion over the fence for the neighborhood strays to take care of, and tossed the trap and its remainder in a trash bin.  then she walked back into the house and went back to whatever she was doing, maybe stopping to wash her hands on the way.  and maybe not.

that insane fearlessness was called upon again this week when my mother walked in the kitchen to find my grandmother poking at a pile of newspaper with her cane.  my mother started fussing about her not cleaning up her dinner plate when my granny pushed back the paper, causing my mother to completely lose her shit.

"OH MY GOD!!  what is that doing in here?!??!"  my grandmother shook her head.

"just a lil’ ol’ mouse," she said.

"i know!  what’s it doing in here?!?!"

"it’s dead," my grandmother said, completely not understanding what the hell she was afraid of.  she shook her head again and turned to leave.

"wait!  aren’t you gonna fix it??"

"can’t fix it; it’s dead."

"i know, but i can’t clean it up, mama!  i need you to do it!"

my grandmother gave a long, exaggerated “tsk, tsk, tsk,” before going to get the broom and dustpan.  i didn’t see her smile, but i can feel it even as i write these words.

she is needed again.  she is still mama, the one who comes to her kids’ defense when they need her, who can still do for us what we can’t. 

on her way back to whatever she was doing before, she grinned a taunting little grin that said “and don’t you forget it, neither.”

(i can’t remember if she washed her hands or not.)

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

1 note

#granny

#grandmother

#family

#this actually happened

picturing nostalgia

once, when i wrote far more often than i do now, i wrote a series of three prose pieces about 3 different pictures from our old photo albums.

one of those pictures was of my grandmother and her husband, my grandfather.  i don’t have the picture to upload right now, but i want to share the piece that was written of it; maybe i’ll do this with some other pictures, too:

————

i was told that my mother was just a little girl when this photograph was taken. far younger than i. younger even than my niece, her son’s first born daughter. it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the image of my mother so small, still needy. she probably looked like me, or rather, i looked like her when i was the age she probably was when this scene was captured. new & knee-high to a junebug.

but this picture isn’t of my mother or myself. it’s about our rock, our foundation. our reason for life and the man she used to love.

this picture, like the frozen forms housed within it, has lived a long, eventful life. the ridges of an anonymous fingerprint grip the middle of the photo at the bottom, not far from the curling edge, yellowing with age. i like to imagine that this picture has seen more and heard more and lived more than any one person, one tree, one river cld ever dream of living in a thousand lifetimes. i like to think the same thing about my grandmother, too.

she sits close to him in this picture on his left hand side. to this very day, she still has the watch that she wears here on her right wrist; im sure that it doesn’t work anymore, but that’s no reason to throw away the bearer of so many memories. her hair is pulled back, displaying the fullness of her face to the world. her grin is subtle, barely noticeable, much like my mother’s mouth that easter morning in 1988 or 89.

i wish she bore a full smile.

her hands lay serenely in her lap and the both peer assuredly into the camera lens. i wonder what they’re so sure of? maybe he was certain that he, in his white t-shirt, pale cap and slacks, wld be nothing less than debonair in the final print. and maybe she knew that he wld get jealous as other women’s lovers turned to watch her walking down the street on his arm, the whiteness of her dress kissed yellow with time, floating about her hips. my grandmother had all the genuine prettiness of a sunflower that had managed to grow in gravel, drinking only when heaven spared libation. maybe they knew then that their children and their children’s children would see them this way someday and meant to show them what they had to look forward to—stark brown beauty. commanding mouths and knowing eyes for the women. chiseled faces and soft cheekbones for the males.
he wasn’t the most handsome individual, but he is beautiful with her sitting there, so close to him.

maybe they were only sure of each other’s presence.

i think more than anything, though, she was secure and sure in her love for him.

love lives in every corner of this picture and dances on its right hand side, in the extra space on the bench, vacant because my grandmother has positioned herself as close to him as possible. all the mutual adoration they lost, all the sunrises and prayers and silly lover’s quarrels they shed as they watched their children grow older and fall in love themselves, it all thrives in that space next to her here.

i feel almost like a voyeur seeing them this way.

i cannot tell whether my granny is happy here
or if she wld rather ride the first wind out of this picture
but she did love him. the way she leans into him tells us that much.
after giving him 6 children, why shldn’t she?

and after being left to fend for them alone,
why shld she smile?

maybe she knew then that this moment was fleeting. maybe she was sure then that she cld raise three brown boys and three brown girls to be upstanding black men & women on her own. she was sure of her strength. and she loved him, but not more than she loved herself.

he has alzheimers today.
he doesn’t remember my mother, or me or any of his other children or grandchildren.

i’m sure he knows my granny, though. and if he was shown this picture, im sure he’d remember himself, too.

the picture is in black and white.
a sheet hangs on the wall behind them in a pattern than resembles some curtains my grandmother still has today. they, like this picture, are old, tattered, jaundiced with years.

she loves them though.
maybe they remind her of the evenings she hid from the setting sun
& kept her babies still during summer thunderstorms.

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

#prose

ntozakel

Your blog is super cute, I found you on Huff Post. I was drawn to it because it looks so awesome, but when reading, I was floored that we have so much in common. I probably don't have as much writing under my belt as you do, but I write. Also, I am caring for my mom, who has early onset dementia. She is incredibly healthy, not yet 65,actually a college writing professor until this past semester and has rapidly graduated to sixth stage early onset. It was helpful to know someone's story.

aw :)  thank you so very much.  of the 8,000 writing projects i have going on right now, recognition of this one always means the most, and i mean *always*.  going through this stuff is hard, and writing about it seems even harder at times.

but in the end, both are worth it.  it takes a special kind of person to do what you’re doing, and to make the sacrifices i’m sure you’ve made; and sharing our stories helps because it feels good knowing that someone else out there understands what may be hard to explain.

i understand, and i thank you very much.

strength & positivity to you & your mommy. 

Posted by aboutmygranny

this is my favorite picture of my grandmother.  i don’t know when this was taken or how old she is here, but i know that i wasn’t born, and some of my aunts and uncles weren’t either.  
i feel like she’s much younger than she looks, though.  living will do that to you.
she worked it on out though, didn’t she?!

this is my favorite picture of my grandmother.  i don’t know when this was taken or how old she is here, but i know that i wasn’t born, and some of my aunts and uncles weren’t either.  

i feel like she’s much younger than she looks, though.  living will do that to you.

she worked it on out though, didn’t she?!

Posted by thebrokeymcpoverty

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