Monday, December 14, 2009

My disappearing grandma. This will probably piss you off.

My grandma called my mom yesterday, asking when she was going to come pick her up for dinner. She couldn't remember that she was supposed to eat dinner at the nursing home, or even that she lived in a nursing home. That was the first time she forgot where she lives- where she lives is about the only thing she could still remember; and now that's fading too. A few days before that we had some family over, my grandma among them. I don't think she knew who anybody was. She asked my dad who he was, and couldn't believe that my mom had been married 24 years. At one point, I think she even forgot my mom was her daughter. She couldn't remember what my uncle is- a doctor- something she's never failed to brag about. She can't remember the most important things in her life. I doubt she's happy. How could she be? But maybe her memory-loss is also a good thing for her. She can't remember that she's outlived her siblings, her husband's siblings- and even her husband. I don't know if she remembers my grandpa, she never mentions him anymore.

When someone asks my mom how my grandma is doing, and she says "Not that bad," I have to wonder what her idea of bad is. True, it could be worse. She could not remember how to feed herself, or she could be violent towards people who try to help her. But those seem like feeble things to be thankful for. If anything, I'd say it would be better to be completely out of it, rather than be aware enough to know that you can't remember anything.

It probably makes me a bad person, but I haven't liked my grandma for a long time. She was always forgetful, and seemingly unaware of what effects her actions had on others. She gave backhanded compliments like, "You look good, you used to be so fat before." I don't know if she realized that what she was saying was offensive or not. My friend Ondrea in elementary school used to talk about the fun things she did with her grandparents. I felt cheated because my mom's dad died when I was ten, and my grandma didn't feel like a grandma. I love my dad's parents, but I didn't see them much, and they always seemed a little detached. Especially my grandpa. They seemed to have the attitude that showing affection was embarrassing. When they did show affection, it seemed almost sarcastic; like, "I 'love' you."

Because my grandma (on my mom's side) forgot so much, even when I was little, it was hard to form a relationship with her. When I was a teenager, she couldn't remember anything new about me. She couldn't remember that I played guitar or that I was a vegetarian, so she couldn't remember what was most important to me at that point in my life. It felt like we were no more than casual acquaintances, without a deeper connection. How could I love somebody who I wasn't sure even know I existed?

I know it's fucked up, and it probably makes me sound like a cold-hearted bitch, but I think she'd be better of dead. What is the definition of death anyway? To cease to exist? She barely exists. As far as she knows, she has no past, future, or present. I would rather be dead than exist in such a state and be a burden on my family. I know it's not my grandma's fault, but I hate that my mom has to see her mother go through this. As much as it hurts me to be forgotten, it must hurt her even more.

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