85 years

85 years is exactly how long my Gramma has been movin-and-a-shakin on this earth. Tearin it up. And the worst part is she gets nothing for it. She worked until she was 74. She lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the assassination of JFK and every other thing that was of some minor importance in US history and no asks her about it. Her mom had a flapper hair cut (scandal woman) and not a single person cares to ask.

This disappoints me because my grandmother isn’t like some old people that are just cranky and nasty. she bakes and makes and rocks out to Patsy Cline and Frank Sinatra (just like we all will- but by then Britney will be the equivalent of Liz Taylor) ….But in talking to my boyfriend- I realized it is our society which makes the elderly so uncool. We don’t want to be reminded of death. We don’t want to be reminded that we will age and stop being twenty or thirty something. We don’t ask old people about their single most favorite memory because we don’t want to hear a four hour long story.

My grandma busted her ass working her whole life, raised four boys and my mom, and maybe she’ll see the youngest one every couple of weeks. She’s not needy. She has soo many activities and an address book that more impressive than most successful real estate people… except everyone in it, practically, is already dead. Her best friend from childhood died a couple of years ago, her friend Jane, from the 40’s died last February- and countless others whose names have disappeared from conversations about outings and daytrips. Half of her bridge club is dead; canasta, too; and even though those are just old people games- it made her really happy when she won the $4 jackpot.

I don’t think I have a reason to write this. But when I went home yesterday (to the only place where I’ll always feel comfortable) and there my Gramma was sad and lonely and telling me no one goes to visit her. She’s always been the life of the party and now there was something almost bitter about her. If I lived closer and I drove I would spend so much more time with her… I used to spend a lot of time there when I was younger. And I gave her Hell. But I think secretly she enjoyed it.

Now her primary relationship is with the TV…

  1. Where does she live exactly, the Island? It sucks you don’t see her as much as you want but at least you see her when you can and that’s more than what most others can say.

  2. I know how you feel. My Great Grandmother was the life and hub of our large family. If there was anything major in the family you could count on her to notify everyone, because she knew everyone. She made the most wonderful bread and refused to move in with anyone, she just wanted to live in her own little house because it was her home. When she got older and started coming down with all sorts of problems my grandfather and his sister decided she should live with someone and so my grandfather’s sister forced her to move in with them. She got worse and passed on shortly after. My Great Grandmother lived in New Mexico when it was still apart of Mexico, she witnessed the signing of the Gadsden purchase, sold wine and was friends with Pancho Villa, and it was her great grandfather who had a town named after him. Her stories were never boring and always made me appreciate who I was and where I came from. Yet everyone, except for a few, considered her to be a bother. I will never understand that.

  3. it’s interesting how that generation is treated in that culture. even in healthcare it’s interesting to see how LTC nurses are treated differently than say an ER RN, because of who they take care of.
    I try each and every day to ask “what did you do before you retired?” “what was your favorite place to travel to?” I’ve taken care of some pretty cool older people, and I never would have known unless I asked.
    I use to joke with one patient about being a fashionista, because in her day she was a “buyer” with may company and lazarus.
    my own grandparents rock so hard I can’t even explain.

  4. I agree with John, at least you make the attempt to go see her. Call her occasionally when you have some down time and ask her how her day has been. Maybe there are some activities at a senior center that she could become involved in?

    My grandparents rock as well. Then again, I almost have to say that since they’re paying for college for me :)