Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

Today is my grandmother's birthday. I haven't talked to her yet because although I knew her birthday was around this time of month I could not remember exactly which day. Part of my distraction is because on an anniversary that happened on Monday, but I will write more about that in another post.

My mother called me to remind me that today was Nanny's birthday, and also because we hadn't talked in a few weeks and she wanted to see how things were going. I love my mother but having around 1000km (600-650 miles) and a national border between us I don't get to see her that often, and we don't talk as much as we should. But we do talk every 2-3 weeks at least.

This time, after we got caught up, she told me that there was another reason she called. Apparently my grandmother is not doing very well. She has gone blind.

This happened a few days before her 95th birthday. One day she was knitting, the next day she took time off because her vision was blurry, and the next she was blind. It is my understanding that at this point she can see blobs of light colours if they are in bright light but that is about it. The doctors say the arteries to the optic nerves are blocked and there is very little, if anything, that can be done. The odds are that any recovery she might make will be limited and still leave her legally blind.

She is staying with my aunt for the time being, with my cousins (this aunt's children) living right next door and in-home-care coming in everyday to check on both of them. I say "both" because, as much as my aunt says she can and will continue to look after her, she can't. A few months back this aunt was diagnosed with clinical dementia, and while there are days when she is perfectly fine, there are other days when she can't even look after herself. It looks likely that my grandmother will end up in a nursing home. There is even a good chance that they both will.

Nanny is the last of my grandparents. While I have a few uncles and aunts, the only people I have left who form my direct lineage are my mother and my grandmother. I don't want to lose either of them.

When mom told me the news I got choked up. When I got off the phone I started to sob. Partly because of the news itself and partly because I had to get the news over the phone and have no idea when I will be able to make it up to see the two of them. It is hard for me to get time off work right now, due to issues I am not going to get into, plus the fact that I can't afford to fly up right now and if I was to drive I'd lose at least two days to traveling which means that a weekend trip is useless.

For now I am going to keep in closer touch and hope that something doesn't happen which would require me to take the time off and go. I would have no trouble doing it if it came down to that, but it would mean something worse had happened and I don't even want to think about that right now. I am also going to plan for a trip in the next few months when I can go and spend some time.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the anniversary I mentioned, Monday was the anniversary of my father's death. Even though it has been several years, I still strongly feel his absence at this time of year. It is one reason (among many) that I no longer celebrate Easter. Instead I do my best to celebrate the memory of my father, the man he was, and the man he helped me become.

But I said that would be for a later post, so I will leave it there for now and pick it up later if there is any interest. For now I will just say "Good night."

Walk in Beauty.

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