Friday, April 8, 2011

Seventeen years...

As I am home again with sick Olivia, cleaning, and thinking too much, I looked at the calendar. I realized today is the seventeen year anniversary of my Grandma's Irene death. I remember the day clearly. It was the one and only time in my life I skipped class. I didn't even really skip like a good skipper would. I had study hall with Mr. Jess (You MHS grads know where this is going....and he just stopped subbing a few years ago!). I told him I was a pass runner (I was), but instead a few of us went to Mexican Village for a friend's birthday.
I went home after and my parents were home (gulp). My mom was sitting at the kitchen table. I just knew that my grandma died. But you see, it was my other grandma who was deathly ill. In fact the week before was Easter. That day was the one and only time I've seen my father cry...sob actually at church. It was heartbreaking. He stayed back to be with her at Eventide while my sister, my mom, Thad, and I went to see my Grandma Irene for the day. We came home and there was a message on the machine from my dad. I remember it clearly: "Grandma is not doing well. I plan to stay for the duration."
I insisted on seeing her. She and I were closer than I can put into words. At least we were to me. She adored all her grandkids. I walked into her room at Eventide. Her breathing was so labored, so loud. I went up and talked to her like it was any other day. Her breathing got worse. I left sad, knowing that was it.
Here's where it gets crazy: my dad called an hour later. My grandma Ada was sitting up in bed talking! Huh??? I talked to her. She said she heard everything I said. She was feeling great. Wow...I was so happy.

But when I walked into my house just five days later, I knew. I said, "Grandma died didn't she?" My mom said, "Yes but the wrong Grandma." I had no reaction...probably shock. I am a cryer, but not over death. Don't ask...I have no idea why. I actually remember asking a few questions that would make me look incredibly selfish and like a jerk, so I won't share them.
So we trekked up to my Grandma's the next day. All was good. Then on Sunday was the visitation. AJ, I remember I borrowed an outfit from you!
I walked in and I fell apart. To this day it was the only death situation where I have fallen completely apart. And I mean I was just crying and crying and crying. I'm sure it was the fact that we weren't as close as I wished. Our Easter was great. Thad and I told her we would visit her that summer. I was feeling hopeful.
It was no secret that I was the black sheep grandchild. I think I let her down a little. I was too much of an Ingersoll I guess. But she loved me and I loved her.
Anyway my other grandma was alive. My 'healthy' one had passed. I remember my dad fielding calls from his brother about my Grandma Ada. She was demanding to smoke. They kept consulting him. Finally he was like, "Oh my god who cares. Let the woman smoke if she wants too." I spent a lot of good times in the smoking room with her at Eventide....good times, but that's another story.


My classmate died exactly one month later. A couple weeks after that my sister got married. A week after that, my Grandma Ada died. Then I graduated from high school. Sometimes life is a blur....and this was cathartic for me to reflect!

5 comments:

Stephanie said...

Wow Bonnie! What an amazing and touching post. I am not a cryer, but I have to admit I needed to grab a tissue for this one. You projected such a somber and honest theme in remembering this time of your life. It's good to reflect and continually process such difficult times. I admire your being able to recall such detail from 17 years ago. I remember bits and peices from this time as well. I also love that 17 years ago, Thad was in your life! I truly look up to you and Thad as the one couple I admire most. P.S. I hope Olivia feels better soon.

ABCDH said...

Wow - isn't it amazing sometimes to look back and realize how we get through such crazy and tragic times?
I haven't lost any (I have 3) of my Grandmas - and still have one Grandpa.
My Mom's Mom - my Grandma A. - seems to be sort of like what you describe your Grandma being to you.
Why can't we all just live forever?

Be the change... said...

I forgot to comment on this post. It made me cry. I loved both my Grandma's sooooo much and miss them both every day. Such a special relationship.

Be the change... said...

I forgot to comment on this post. It made me cry. I loved both my Grandma's sooooo much and miss them both every day. Such a special relationship.

Be the change... said...

I forgot to comment on this post. It made me cry. I loved both my Grandma's sooooo much and miss them both every day. Such a special relationship.