Wednesday, July 14, 2010

write it down and remember

My grandma, whom I have adored since I decided to grace the earth with my presence, is currently under the care of hospice.  If you're not familiar, hospice is end-of-life care for people who are estimated to only have 6 months (or less) before end of life.  Hospice is about death with dignity.  Death with less pain.  Hospice is a good thing at a bad time.

I have been going to my grandparents' house almost daily to help out with household chores, to bathe my grandma, or wash her hair, help her get dressed or just to visit with her.

Today was nice because all I did was chat with her.  She can't speak, really, so she writes everything down.  She tries to talk, and some days are better than others when it comes to clarity of speech.

It hit me, this day, that my grandma is at the end of life and will take with her volumes of information about my family that only she knows, remembers or experienced.  She wrote some replies to some questions that came up today, and when she went to throw the paper away, I took the sheet of paper from her, folded it and put it in my pocket.  As soon as I got home I made notations on the paper to put into context "47" "Wisconsin" "W.P.B. Fla"--among other things.

We brought out the family bible, the enormous tome that it is (the word of God is heavy, I told her).  It's amazing the papers that people shove into their family bible--not to mention the important births, deaths, marriages that are noted within.  I added my marriage to Wayne, which she hadn't added yet.  She's also missing the births of three of her great-grandchildren (Maya, Ben & Blake).  Wayne and I don't have a family bible (my parents do!) to keep those important family records.  I need to think of a way to keep track of our family history past and as we make it in the future.  A bible will never do in this household.

My grandma showed me some journaling she did 3 weeks ago (she claims; her recognition of time is sketchy right now).  The penmanship on the page was lovely, as her handwriting always has been, which leads me to believe that it was written way before 3 weeks ago.  Her penmanship now is difficult to read sometimes; her brain tumors really impact her ability to write as well as to speak.  Communication is a challenge and a frustration.  This bit of journaling that she completed was only a short page of brief recollections of her daily life during her childhood, but her was so descriptive and fun; it made me sad that she hadn't written more.  She ended her memories on that page mid-sentence.  Abruptly.

I hope she has more journals somewhere, but she told me she doesn't.

1 comment:

renae said...

It's good that you're able to have this time with your grandma and you're able to collect some of her memories. I regret not knowing more about my own grandparents.