August 6, 2017
My true fears are few, but one that crosses my mind at times in regard to aging is the decline or loss of mobility. In essence, the surrender of my independence.
I've been with my grandma for several days while she's made her move from Florida to the west coast. I've had a lot of time to think on it personally, and also watch and feel her turmoil during this transition in which she feels she has no choice in how she would choose to live the rest of her life, yet submits. Grandma is from a marriage of Russian and Polish Jew immigrants into Texas whom inherited a stoic and steadfast demeanor that thrives on serving others. Her name is Ida. She is a woman that has raised two sons and loved two husbands. Her youngest son was lost much too soon, and she proudly worked a professional job for no more than $10 per hour several years beyond her retirement age to clear a mortgage.
She has lived alone for the past 20 years. Frustration. Embarrassment. Pain. Uncertainty. I cannot even glean the surface, but I know that in short...she's a little pissed off right now. I get it. To go from a 10 to what feels like a 2 in a few short months would piss me off too. She's mentally sharp in a body that is changing fast. The furniture doesn't fit her right anymore and there is the fumbling for light switches in every room. The final hour back in her home, we sat around grandma while we cried for her and for our sentiments. Nostalgia hits hard in the fondest of memories.
Silver linings: In farewells to friends we overheard grandma say she is happy to be with her son & daughter-in-law, and all the grandkids. On the flights home, she told much of our family history which I was never quite clear on because she has been the keeper of the stories. Where there was once a space of being strangers because of time and distance, now we have become bonded. There is something humbling and heart-pulling in caring for an elderly loved one that brings about fierce protective nature. Dad is 20 hrs away in a 3,000 mile UHaul drive coming with all grandma's belongings. I'm praying for the safety in his miles. I'm still here at my parent's home slowly backing out as my mom steps in to begin nurturing their new-old relationship and ease fears of burden. It's delicate.
All of your notes checking in, of well wishes and encouragement...thank you, thank you, thank you. It's difficult to leave late and unfinished work on the bench. I will be back at it in a few days time. Thank you for your understanding with my inconsistencies as of late, and your patience in allowing and encouraging me the time to blend both aspects of my life while this takes priority. The gratitude runs deep. My cup runneth over.