Friday, November 24, 2006
Black Friday had been a snap. Then I got home. No one was around--my parents out of the house past 9 p.m. is something that does not happen.
I check the answering machine. Nothing. No notes. I called my folks' cell phone on a whim; they normally don't have it on. My dad answers. Turns out my grandmother fell down, and they were loading her onto an ambulance.
My grandfathers on both sides of the family died when I was young. My dad's mom died in the 1960s, when she was a young woman. In other words, the grandmother who fell--my mom's mom--is the only grandparent I have that's living.
My dad said she'd be OK, but she had to be bribed by volunteer firefighters to be placed on the stretcher. (Turns out that you have to go willingly; if not, it's legally kidnapping.) She's incredibly stubborn, my dad says, something I inherited (he couldn't resist tossing that in there, in reference to the whole Catholic/Protestant thing). It took them four hours to convince her to go.
So I'm sitting here, listening to sad Tom Waits songs and drinking Warsteiner. She's a fairly reclusive Polish-American. I speak to her rarely, and see her even less. She's always been brief with me, never really learned much about me. She cuts conversations short and keeps phone calls to 40 seconds. I feel like a stranger to her, despite efforts to make us closer. But I love her. She's beautiful, kind, loving. She loves to watch birds and garden, the latter having become something she loves to do in theory since she can't walk well. She's written thousands of poems. She's published some, and the sing-songy lines she sends every year for my birthday is far more valuable than any amount of money she puts with it. And I'll never forget how she calls to sing "Happy Birthday" to me every year, her pretty voice cracking slightly with age.
She'll probably be OK when she gets to the hospital, but I really worry and pray about her these days. She's in her mid-80s. It's her birthday today, even. Maybe we'll become closer with the time she has left.
I trying not to make this sound overly sentimental, but things like this can really shake up what you take for granted.
posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 11/24/2006 10:57:00 PM,