I just got back from seeing my Grandmother today.
She’s dieing, no way around that and I don’t want her to take all those things from the past to her grave…she was glad to see us and she was very responsive and was able to talk a bit.
But she’s not eating and she’s only taking a little water.
Me and Doug and Esther acted as normal as possible and talked to her about the kids and what we’ve been doing and I could tell she liked that too. But I didn’t harp on about the food…she doesn’t have much time left I think and I didn’t want to waste my time on that.
I had things to settle first.
When I got there, I went up to her first (she does look really bad ) and I looked right into her eyes and I told her about the good things from our past and that they meant a lot to me.
I told her not to be scared we were there and we didn’t forget about her and never would and that we loved her and she said, ” all my babies are here. ”
Then she saw my brother and her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she said ‘ oh it’s Duke! ” that’s my brother’s nickname and both our Grandmothers adored Doug.
On his good days he’s like one of those Douglas Fairbanks Jr types from the old movies…what do you call it…he’s one of those dashing handsome lovable rogue types.
In fact, that’s who my brother is named for: Douglas Fairbanks…only my Filipina Grandmother couldn’t pronounce Fairbanks…it came out Frederick I guess or something that sounded like that.
So our mom changed it.
Anyway nothing could warm those two women’s hearts like Doug could. It’s always been a joy to me to think back on the smiles they had for him and only for him…my stern Grandmother Ignancia who only openly and with her entire heart smiled and laughed just for my Grandfather, Cypriano, and later for my brother Doug.
And for my Grandma Ginger who had a bitter and hard and sad life was able to toss all that over to smile with pure abandon for Doug too.
So it was worth going just to see her that happy…I mean it’s the end for her and her life is full of bad choices and wrong words and she knows it.
If this can help her ease her heart and settle her spirit I’m glad and I’m glad I was there to see it and that I was part of it. I’m glad I was able to let go of my pain and hurt for the Grandmother who sometimes treated me with something less then kindness and care.
The nurse told Luis they’re surprised she’s lasted this long and they suspect she’s got unresolved issues and I think we’re the issues.
I really don’t want her to suffer just waiting to see us.
I didn’t want that to be what she felt on her last days on this Earth.
I wanted her to be happy tonight, I wanted her to have good dreams the way my Grandmother Ignancia did before she passed away.
My Grandmother was saying, the week before she died, that every night she was dreaming about my Grandfather Cypriano driving up in his army jeep and he’d call out to her to come out and take a ride with him.
She was scared when she woke up and told my Uncle she yelled at Cypriano to go away.
She died shortly after; I think she got in that jeep with him one night and I think she was laughing…I think they both were.
I want that for my Grandma Ginger too.
The Beginning-posted at the Soul Food Cafe
One of my favorite stories involving my Grandmother Ignancia and her sister involved the trips they use to take together back in their younger years after moving to Hawaii.
My Grandmother’s younger sister really was a bush pilot and use to fly all over the Southwest here in the states, Mexico and before they stopped it, Cuba.
After one such trip my Grandmother and her sister weren’t on speaking terms for about two weeks, I’m told. Finally one night at the dinner table my Grandmother’s sister dissolved into hysterical laughter and nearly fell out of her chair. My Grandmother calmly got up, excused herself and went to Confession.
True story, one of my favorites because sometimes we forget our Grandmother’s were once young women. When I think of my Grandmother and her sister ( We called her Tia ) I don’t think of them as older maternal figures.
I see my Grandmother as the gutsy young woman she was; she left the Philippines to get away from an abusive husband as well as a Church she felt had far to much control over her life. She took herself and her daughter to Hawaii.
I see my Tia, which isn’t hard to do because I look exactly like her. I can see her in my mind’s eye flying planes, smoking her beloved Cuban cigars, playing cards and shooting coconuts out of the trees for the hell of it
I’d like to say my Grandmother was a calming sweet old woman, but she wasn’t. She was tough, strong and independent. She wasn’t the warmest person in the world, but my God you could count on her to be strong no matter what came her way.
Until the last week of her life she was working her garden and keeping up on her hobbies. As for Tia, she passed away a few months after my Grandmother did. I was told the day she lost her driver’s license wasn’t as big of a deal as the day she realized she could no longer fly ( which had happened many years before ). I think that broke her, because it was then she stopped being the spitfire she was before. I think all she had after being ‘grounded’ was my Grandmother and when she was gone…that was it.
Even as they aged they still traveled and saw much of the world, two old ladies taking off for trips to Mexico. Sometimes they’d see someplace on TV and decided to fly there for no other reason then…why not? It looked good. And just try to stop them. You’d have better luck trying to change the rotation of the Earth and I’m not kidding. This was when they were in the 70’s for Pete’s Sake.
HOWEVER! I think you all are very lucky to have had the women I’ve read some of you write about in your lives. The women in my life…well…ha, they belong in an adventure movie. No kidding and they’d take THAT as a compliment!