Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Something that happened

My father's mother, who was my last living grandparent, died last night.

The news was only shocking because she has been living in the same reduced state for so long that it almost felt like she was somehow immune to the laws of biology that govern the rest of us.  But she was 96 (or thereabouts), and had been languishing in a nursing home for ages.  Just lying in a bed, not moving, not speaking, not interacting with anyone.

The saddest part about it is that no one is particularly sad. 

She was not a nice person, not a loving mother, and a friendly if mostly unengaged grandmother (at least to me).  My dad checked out of the relationship decades ago.  I continued to call her on a regular basis up until about 5 or 6 years ago, mostly out of a sense of obligation, because she never had anything much to say to me.  But then she decided that she wasn't interested in engaging in life or in having any role in her own care, so she just stopped.  Stopped moving, stopped taking care of herself, stopped doing anything but sit and watch TV or stare into space.  Her muscles atrophied to the point that she was incapable of getting up or doing anything for herself, so she spent the last years of her life lying down and doing nothing.  She squandered her considerable assets on hiring live-in caregivers who sat in her kitchen watching soap operas and then left with her silver and other valuables in their handbags. 

I asked my dad if he wanted me to come to Detroit for the service, but he said, no, it's expensive and unnecessary.  I asked him if he was OK, and he said he was fine.

When I was talking to my mom about it, she lamented that it seemed horrible that no one would really mourn her. 

But I guess if you're going to be nasty and shitty to people your whole life, there's the rub.  You're not going to get much more than a passing thought when you die.

I feel weird about it.  It feels weird to no longer having any living grandparents.  I feel sad that I don't feel sadder. 

I think I'll go home and be super-nice to my kids.


  1. And the lesson learned lies there in the last sentence. It is sad, but it's real. You can do the opposite, and you do. You see the waste of life and opportunity, and just vow to make the most of your relationships.

    My family of origin is shitty and nuts, so I made it my goal to create the opposite with my own family. Control what you can, let go of the rest.

    Still, consider yourself akwardly hugged.

    1. I see us bumping foreheads because we both went for the same side.

      Thanks, girl. ;)