There’s a lot of newness in my life right now. Sometimes I think about the changes my brain is going through because I am doing something new every day. They say it’s good for you. It definitely makes the days longer. I’ve been in Nashville a little over a month and it feels like so much more time has passed. Dean and I both have good days and bad days. Some days I wake up feeling like I’m going to take the world by storm and some days I’m just forlorn. I know it will even out.
I’ve been doing a lot of fire progress updates lately, and I’m glad that people are still concerned and still with us for all of that. (It’s surely been a rough start and we appreciate the emotional support.) But today I want to write about something different. Today I’m going to write about my grandma.
My mom’s mom is ninety-five years old. Her sisters are also in their nineties. I went to visit last July for the first time since my cousin’s wedding in 2014. I was back and forth about going for a while. I wasn’t sure how my grandma was doing. Didn’t know if I should go or just keep the memories I had of her. I decided to plan my trip for when my mom was there visiting as well. I am so glad that I went.
We had a great time. Yes, her memory was very obviously failing (I showed her the same stack of pictures over and over that week, sometimes five times in a row), but she was still grandma. Still a little feisty, still knew who I was, and still took so much joy in things. She loved walking out to the rose bushes at the end of the block to cut new roses every day. She loved watching the birds at her bird feeders. I would go on long walks and bike rides in the mornings before she was up (I had an injury and wasn’t able to run at the time) and I would take pictures of a nice sunrise or some ducks that I had seen while I was out. When I got back I would show her all of the things I had seen and tell her where I had gone. My mom and I trimmed all of the trees and did all of the weeding in her back yard. We washed her car, did irrigation, lots of little chores. Grandma watched us do them all. We had a really nice time. I decided I would try and make it an annual visit.
Grandma’s not doing so well right now. The downhill seemed to happen very fast. Hospice is there. She has a hospital bed at home. She can’t go outside anymore, even in a wheelchair. They say it could be any day, it could be weeks or months.
There’s nothing I can do from here to help. I can’t afford to go there right now. I’ve written a couple of letters. My mom is going up on Saturday. She’ll let me know how lucid she is. I considered trying to get some photos together for her, I’ve been sending her photos intermittently for years, but my mom said wait and she’d let me know.
She’s 95. She’s had a nice long life and I know that I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am surprised. I’m surprised at how sad I am. I’m surprised at when the sadness hits me. (Recently, when I run on the treadmill on rainy days.) Surprised that I won’t be able to make that annual trip a thing.
When my mom gets there we’re going to try and FaceTime. I hope that I am able to hold it together while we do that. I want to keep things positive and upbeat. I want to be the happy person that she remembers having so much fun with.
I’ve been thinking about that trip a lot. I was having a hard time when I went. Not being able to run was really eating at me mentally. Dean and I had begun making plans to move, but it was in such early stages that we weren’t really telling anyone about it. That trip gave me a lot of perspective. I remember when grandma’s sisters came to visit one day. We were all sitting around with them and I believe I said something about my injury and ‘getting old’ and they laughed when I said I was forty. When I told them that Dean and I had plans to move and we were thinking about Nashville they said, “Oh, Nashville! Now wouldn’t that be FUN!” I thought about what forty must look like from the other side of ninety. Not old at all. A couple months off of running? Not even a blip on the time-span really. Uprooting everything and moving to a new city? Just another fun adventure.
So that’s what I’m trying to remember. Make good decisions, stay healthy, live long, have fun adventures, make good memories. There is still a part of me that says I will get to make another trip up to see grandma and make more memories. Realistically, I know that it probably won’t happen. I am even more grateful for the memories we created last July. My mom says she still remembers the visit and remembers me being there. She has created some differences in her memory. She remembers driving to pick me up from the airport (my mom actually drove) and she remembers taking me to get her hair done (my mom took us) and that everyone thought I was from a rodeo (I wore my cowboy boots a lot that summer, no one thought I was from a rodeo). But she remembers the two of us having a great time. And I remember that too.
This has been a difficult couple of months, but it’s really just a blip.