Getting down to business. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with the Grandmother of mine that I've always been closest. She just had some serious surgery and this was my first opportunity to check in, spend some quality time and generally speaking catch up. We had a perfect afternoon drinking iced tea and telling stories. She's doing so much better and I'm so relieved. I had a good hour drive back to Annapolis, but I was in such a good mood and it was just starting to get dark that I thought there was no reason why I don't pay a surprise visit to my other Grandmother. She is in assisted living about 5 minutes away and I knew it would brighten her day. It was pretty rainy and dreary out when I got in my car and I almost decided to skip it but something told me not to shrug my visit off.
I cruised through the Mc Donald's drive-thru for a chocolate shake because she's always loved her sweet treats. So pleased with myself I was as I skipped through the rain into her building. I entered the common area to see melancholy ladies in wheel chairs and on couches with vacant stairs on their faces, and old timey music softly playing on the sound system. I gulped and remembered why I don't come often. I scanned the sea of white hair and spotted the Grandmother that belonged to me. Weaving through the crowd, ladies questioningly eyed me. "Hi Grandma," I said as cheerfully as possible! She slowly raised her head and her bored expression absolutely lit up. I presented her with her shake and she was absolutely overwhelmed. As quickly as her face cheered, it melted into dismay. Emotional over my visit she put her hand to her heart and guilt seared through mine. So many times I pass by without going in thinking she won't remember anyway. Or it's too depressing. On one occasion dropping her off, I was pulled aside by a 90-something who asked me to help her "escape by nightfall." This night I took my Grandmother's arthritis curled hand and wished my own were warmer to help sooth her curved fingers.
Confusion set in that I wont elaborate on, but to distract her I asked her if she would like me to paint her finger nails. Her face quickly brightened again and I wheeled her to the kitchen area. We passed a lady weeping about her father on a bench, and another talking to herself or possibly her reflection in a window. I asked Grandma if she remembered when I used to paint her nails all the time. One summer about 9 years ago shortly after my Grandfather died, she spent a lot of time at our house and I often painted her nails to pass the time. I just hate myself for not spending more hours talking and having her tell me stories while she could like I do with my other Grandmother. Instead, I was too involved counting the hours until my Mom would get home so I could dart off to my asshole boyfriend of the time. But this night, she sat sipping her shake while I slowly painted her nails with precision as the others watched in envy. One lady swooped (slowly) in and helped herself to the shake while watching the manicure. It was OK because my Grandmother had had her fill anyway, and the lady grunted and slurped and said, "Hmm. Yeah, good," so I saw no harm in it if it would make her happy too. (I did verify with the nurses there were no dietary restrictions being violated.) Another lady randomly took off her shirt exposing...well, you know. I was told sundown was a tough time of day and that residents often get confused and depressed.
Grandma said I looked pretty and I told her I'd recently been to a wedding in Maine. She said she had been to Maine and was I going to get married? I told her yes maybe but he would have to ask me first, and she found this to be very amusing and hid her head in her arm and laughed. I laughed too and all too soon I was finished and had run out of words to say.
My point is that it was so bittersweet. I curse myself for not paying more visits. My Mom told me on Monday how surprised and happy my Grandmother told her she was that I had stopped in. As uncomfortable as it is to go, and as easy as it is to just pass by, it's beyond selfish to do so. My Grandmother ran a household raising four children, and 7 grandchildren and my thanks is to brush her off because it's awkward?
If you're still reading, I beg you to visit your Grandparents while you still can, no matter how depressing it may be. At the end of the day, we go on to our beaches and bars and festivals and friends and they've done all that. They're staying where we've put them and are left with the help to entertain them. I in no way mean to preach or tell others they are bad for not visiting or be self-riotous in any way, I just realized I thankfully have a chance to do better. I can't make up for what I haven't done, but I realized how much a little gesture makes a big impact.
As suspected, my tear stained face no longer has humor left to write, but I consciously wrote my confession ahead of time, so go ahead and have a laugh (hopefully) at my expense!
Is it just me, or is that Miley Cyrus, “Party in the USA” song, like really catchy? I made it a point last Christmas after she butchered Mariah Carrey’s “All I Want for Christmas” to go out of my way to dislike her, but then I got into Twitter, and then Miley filmed a movie in Savannah, Georgia, and I accidentally may have popped over to take a quick look at her tweets once or twice, (or maybe the whole time she was there) and then I decided, perhaps she’s not so bad after all, but I’m not going to go buying any cd’s or watching Hannah Montana or anything, but instead I’ll just not express extreme displeasure every time I hear her name anymore, and then this song kept playing on the radio, and I didn’t know who it was, but I knew that once I had felt nervous, but then that Jay Z song came on and I put my hands up and the butterflies flew away, and that was before I knew it was her, so when I found out finally, it was too late to turn back and stop liking it. Are you nodding your head like yeah?