Last week my grandmother, Nellie, passed away. Even though it’s been a while in coming, it still feels unreal to think that she is no longer around. Going through the daily minutiae of my day, my mind wanders and I catch myself thinking, “No Grandma.”
Grieving while separated from family due to the pandemic (oh yeah…there is a freaking pandemic happening in this world…da hell?) is challenging. How do I support my mother, her last caretaker, while I follow safety rules as *I* manage my own feelings?
I had such a complicated relationship with my grandmother. She was four feet eleven inches of fire. She would tell you where to go and how to get there. She was mean but also so loving. I was scared of her but also enamored by the way she would strut down the street and let the neighbor know what’s good. I remember sitting with her on the front patio in her glider, her chatting up the neighbors while we rocked and rocked. I remember being frightened to show her a low test score because she knew that I could and should do better. I can remember the meals she made, creative…and filling.
Her last years were spent with caregivers and relative comfort. She was bedridden and confined to one space and it always made me sad to see the woman who drove well into her 70’s stuck. She would watch TV, dance a bit while in bed and always wanted to take a nap.
Thinking about our last visits, I am happy that I had a chance to visit Grandma before she was unable to interact. It was frustrating sitting by her bedside carrying on a one sided conversation, remembering the grandma who was loud and present but now quiet and reserved. There are some regrets…why didn’t I make the chicken salad I kept promising? And while I did share the cookies she always wanted, why didn’t I stop to enjoy one with her? Overall I am proud to say that I am Nellie Fagg’s granddaughter and will have a cookie and a Pepsi in her honor.