Monday, January 09, 2006

When I was a kid, Grandma drove a cranberry-colored Mercedes sedan.

Doubt it was as cool in reality as in my recollection, but I sure loved that car.

Grandma was an elementary school science teacher back then and used to take me to the natural museum for little field trips when I was the only grandchild old enough to go. (Thanks to her, I didn’t flip out last year when some tiny black snakes found their way into the house while my husband was out of town.)

Sometimes I’d swing by Grandma and Grandpa’s condo on a lunch break from my first post-college job. During one of those lunches, back when PRETTY WOMAN was in theaters, Grandma told me, “I saw that Julia Roberts on television the other day. She’s really not that pretty. She reminds me of you, dolling.”

Snort. “Thanks, Grandma.”

“Oh, you know what I mean.” Chuckle. Dismissive wave.

Grandma’s married name is Ethel Herman, yet despite the similarity of name to one of this country’s first divas, Grandma’s never been known for her lovely singing voice.

Except, perhaps, to Grandpa.

One big family dinner, Grandpa was mid-sentence when Grandma sang a verse, apropos of nothing. The whole table went quiet. Grandpa forgot what he was about to say. Then he smiled and said, almost to himself, “Oh, she sent me.”

Grandpa did it right. About eight years ago. He was 86 and in generally good health. Fell asleep on the sofa and just never woke up.

Grandma is probably doing it tonight. That’s what the hospice folks say. I remember how frustrated she’d get back when she was sharp enough to feel the Dementia coming on. The last few times we visited, she barely opened her eyes long enough to enjoy her great-grandchildren. If Grandma were a dog, she’d have been permitted a humane and dignified exit years ago. However, she’s a demented old lady in a nursing home who, apparently, has decided to take matters into her own frail hands and has stubbornly refused to eat since Saturday.

You go, Grandma.


Anonymous Brett N said...

There are few things better than a cool grandma.

Remember the good stuff. The rest is just details.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Rainmkr said...

I woke Madison up this morning and told her Grandma had died during the night. She said, "what a beautiful gift for Mommy on her birthday. Grandma will be with her forever and she'll never be alone." It's funny how kids have such a positive outlook on things. We will all miss Grandma. XOM

7:46 PM  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Julie, today is the anniversary of the death of my own dear grandmother. I sat at her bed and held her hand and sang to her out of a hymnal because she said that when she died, it was my voice she wanted to hear singing as she entered the gates of heaven.

My grandmother had a very painful death. Her body was riddled with cancer and I remember changing her diapers and begging God to put her out of her pain and give her dignity back to her.

Your post made me cry.

12:15 PM  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Julie, consider yourself tagged! Your turn to answer the meme started by Fun Joel

3:11 PM  

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