Posted on | August 6, 2014 | 1 Comment

I have been fortunate in my life thus far, to be able to still pick up the phone and speak with mostly coherent grandmothers, both in their 90s. And I wish I could say that I do, in fact, pick up the phone and speak with them on a regular basis.

Because I should, you know?

But life starts spiraling and swirling around me and before I know it, weeks have gone by in a flash and I find I haven’t spoken to either in so long that I barely remember the last time we talked. Weeks go by in a flash for me because I’m busy with work and J and, well… life.  Weeks just go by so fast.

I remember the eight weeks I spent at home with my new son; those slow, aching weeks of exhaustion and quiet and the almost mindless ticking of the wall clock against the roar of my head. Those days went by so slowly… each minute an agonizing wait for sleep or company or anything to break the monotony of my zombie-like state. And when I remember those days, alone in my house with no one to speak to me about the person I was, the woman I was before the gurgling and kicking baby in my arms… I remember how breathtakingly sad it often felt.

I felt so very alone, there in my house without a reminder of the life I once lived.

And for me, I knew my lonely was short-lived. I knew that at any moment my break from my life would expire and I would tearfully leave my son with someone else as I walked back into my life and the moments of the day would resume their whirl and tumble. I knew my lonely was short-lived.

When I think of my grandmothers, slowly rising from their beds to make their way to the chair where they will spend their day, I ache with shared loneliness. How do they spend their moments? How do their minutes pass? How often do they jump when the phone rings, hoping beyond hope that it’s a familiar voice and not a telemarketer or a political ad? I imagine their days move slowly, with little to do but wait for the phone calls… the ones I haven’t made in far too long. I imagine they wonder if they’ll ever recover from this… if they’ll wake up one morning with a spring in their step and find that they are just Doris, just Audrey… no longer Grandma or Granny or Great anything.

I wonder.

Today I talked to my mother for a long while about the decline of my grandmother. I talked to my mother about my Granny… or was it Audrey? I wonder if they’re the same person or if deep down my granny knows she’s someone else… maybe someone better; maybe just someone different. I wonder who she is in her mind… if it’s the same person she sees in her mirror. I talked to my mother, feeling the shame roll over me as I realized how long it’s been since I spoke with my grandmother. With either of my grandmothers.

Because my life goes on, you know. My life whirls by in made memories and laughter. But her life is paused… waiting for me to call. Waiting for me to share mine with her, to bring laughter or smiles or anything other than the slow tick of the wall clock, marking the minutes of this day she now calls life,  these minutes that painstakingly, slowly pass her by.


One Response to “Grandmothers”

  1. pinkflipflops44
    August 6th, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    I miss my grandmothers so much. I would call one or the other on my 45 minute drive home from night classes in college and at least once a week after those were done. I still remember my last phone call with my one grandma and I’m so sad that it was the last one. I miss her so much. My grandpa has dementia and it’s worse if I call now. I used to call him weekly too and then it got to be too much. He’s too worried because he doesn’t remember me and it makes me sad and I just can’t. It’s horrible.

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