Chalise's post got me thinking about my grandmother. More than I usually do.
I worry about her a lot. She's on oxygen and has been for the last three or so years. She's been smoking for 55 of her 71 years. And I'm so far away.
She doesn't have cancer or any sickness, just week lungs. Her back is really bad from hard labor and two jobs at a time all her life. Farming at home, waiting tables, catering events, medical assisting, nursing and raising kids in between. My dear grandmother is tired. And she thinks she has the flu this week.
About 12 years ago she was working in a nursing home and a restaurant. Somehow she pulled her back out and had to quit both jobs. Since then, her back hasn't been the same and movement is hard for her. For the last couple years all she's really been able to do is bake cookies and sew. Anything more than that is extremely tiring. She can babysit or drive to the store, but then she sleeps the next day. My poor grandmother has been reduced to watching news television and being nosy all day long.
She has nothing better to do than get in everyones business and cause problems spreading rumors. But what everyone doesn't realize is that, most of the time, she doesn't really mean too. Her life was dramatically reduced from 65 hour a week worker to house-gram. When she goes to an aunt's house, all she can do is cook and look at the kids. Of course she wants to know every detail of what's going on in our lives. All she can do to help us, is pray us through. Physically, she's useless. The only power she had left is prayer. That's all she can do for us these days.
I don't mind telling her the little details of what's going on in my life. In fact, I think she makes things better for me. Yes, she can be dramatic and negative sometimes, but she does more good than harm. We all know when she gets on her "God bless George Bush" political and "God will smite thee" religious kicks, she goes a little past obnoxious. She just needs to feel needed again and doesn't know how else to do it other than throwing her idea's into your situation. I'm the only one who calls her everyday. I'm sure the other cousins only call her when they need something sewn or to borrow her car or something.
It pisses me off that everyone can talk shit about her and how nutty she was during the last conversation. But no one really looks at what she does for us. She's the matriarch of an Army. She has 8 children, over 25 grands and 1 great grandson. She prays us all through. So, yeah the crazy republican in her is hard to deal with at times, but we owe her almost everything.
There is a lot more I can say about my grandmother and how my family treats her. For the most part, we're good to her. They sent her on an Alaskan cruise last sumer. They all pitch in and get her nice birthday, mother's day and Christmas gifts. But what she really loves and craves, is to feel needed. I wish that my cousins, aunts and uncles would take more time for her. Take her out to lunch or diner. Go to the movies with her. Call and say that your taking her shopping this weekend. Randomly stop in for coffee, even though she drinks the nastiest re-microwaved crap with no sugar and whole milk and cookies. She always has some kind of sweet something just out of the oven. She just needs some attention.
I guess I'm being over dramatic about her because she's on oxygen. I just worry about her all the time. She really is lonely, even though we are a huge group. I wish I was closer to her so I could do all these things. But my life is in Alaska and I can only go home for a few weeks, at most. I can see her living on oxygen and hobbling around her little in-law apartment for another ten years, but I can also see it getting ugly very fast too.
She means a lot to me. And her health is no help these days. Now, all I can do is return the favor and pray her through as best I can.