Greetings, Gentle Readers Reader,

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of updates. I’ve been getting over a long-running cold/sinus infection/throat affliction (which is still with me), but it’s been playing havoc with my creativity. (And my story watching…)

A couple of weeks ago, my gran had a stroke. Not a severe stroke, but a stroke nonetheless. She was paralyzed on the left hand side of her body and had a bad bruise where the blood vessel had ruptured beneath her scalp. She was still in good spirits though, even joking with her doctor when he told her she had to decide whether or not the medical personnel should revive her in the event that things turned south.

“Do you need to know now?!”

Over the next week or so, various family members visited her, each reporting on varying levels of cognizance (some visits were completely normal, while my mum reported getting a blank, unknowing stare during one of her calls at the hospital). Plans were arranged with a total care home (she had been living in a semi-care home previously) and she was put on a waiting list. The family was warned the list was several months wait.

I had a real problem with this because my gran was not a woman who enjoyed being waited on, or taken care of, or really being a bother to anyone else. She often would go out of her way to make you comfortable when you were visiting her house; ensuring that you’d had enough food, or that your room was warm enough. She was fiercely proud and there wasn’t a night that I ever stayed at her house where she did not put her hair in curlers before bed, wrapping her entire head in a section of toilet paper and sipping her tea (from fine bone china) while she played solitaire or did a crossword. She would never come to dinner without full make-up on and her nails done. This often delayed dinner by at least an hour as her preferred time to get ready was 5 minutes before the scheduled commencement of the meal.

Although Scottish by heritage, she came off as more English because of her very snobbish (yet charming) views on life and people. She was every bit as curmudgeony as her favourite television character, Hyachynthe Bucket. One summer an uncle of mine was visiting from England and staying at my gran’s house. He was heavily into tai-chi and practiced it every day at home. One morning, my gran was in the kitchen making her morning tea while the rest of the family sat around the breakfast table, talking and eating. She looked outside at the yard worriedly and said, “What is Jim doing?”

“His tai-chi,” my aunt responded.

“Well, someone go out and get him off the lawn before the neighbours see him.”

Last Friday, I received word that my gran had gone into congestive heart failure and that the doctors had pretty much resolved themselves to the fact that recovery would not be possible for a woman of her age (she was 92). I went to the hospital to see her and she was a shell of her former self. It broke my heart to see her unaware of anyone around her, her hair not done, her nails not done and her previously slight body now shrunken to gaunt proportions. I couldn’t really look at her, or touch her – I just sat, talking with my aunt and cousin who had been there all day. They’d decided to no longer even monitor my gran, but instead just make her comfortable until the inevitable occurred. As harsh as it sounds, it was the best thing for her, really.

I returned home on Friday evening and then heard on Sunday morning that she had passed away just after midnight on Saturday evening. I wasn’t really sad, to be honest, I was more relieved that such a great and proud woman wouldn’t be subjected to an extended, embarassing and soul-killing hospital stay let alone a couple years stuck in a nursing home. If she hadn’t been defeated by the health problems, such a fate would surely have destroyed any zest for life she had left. After her stroke, she said, “It’s been a good life” and it was. Of her 92 years (save the last two), she’d only been in the hospital on four occasions (the births of her four children, including my father). She was also heartbroken when Grampa died in 1982 and I know they’re having the greatest conversation right now, catching up on all the stuff he’d missed out on (including the births of 3 more grandchildren).

Our family is very Scottish, due largely to my gran’s constant reminders, so my brother and I wore kilts to the funeral and visitation. I felt really proud to be there, knowing my gran would think we were dressed better than anyone else in the room and be just as proud as me.

RIP Gran xoxo



~ by seangstm on November 21, 2007.

4 Responses to “RIP”

  1. Hey buddy, its never easy dealing with the loss of someone you love so much. My thoughts and prayers were with you and your family and still are. She sounds like she was an absolute gem ands I am sure she will be sadly missed. Big Romach hugs to you xx

  2. Thanks, bud. Means a lot to me.

    She was an amazing lady.

  3. she sounds like one hot broad!

    it’s always best for ones like her to go quickly… my grandmother sounds a lot like your, but in a Southern-American-Gun-Toting way. Oh, but her nails were always done too đŸ™‚

    take care of yourself.

  4. Sorry for your loss. It’s cool that you honored her by wearing a kilt. I bet she would have been proud indeed.

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