Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just Thinking



While were were in Cincy my mom and I took Brady to Louisville to visit my grandmother. She is old and has recently had a few strokes. The last one left her in the hospital and a rehabilitation center for a couple months. She is now living with my aunt, and sadly will never be able to return to her own home to live by herself again. However, she's not aware of this and desperately wants to go home. She asked multiple times while we were visiting if she could go home. When we left she even tried to stand up out of her wheelchair to get her coat. She wanted to come with us. To be honest I'm not even sure if she knew who I was. My mom has told me that on nearly every visit she asks why her husband has not come to visit her and is starting to think he doesn't care about her. He passed away over 30 years ago.

I spoke to my mom tonight. Yesterday she drove to my aunts house to take care of her for the night while my aunt and uncle went to see their grandson play a basketball game. Before she arrived though my grandma fell out of her wheelchair and hit her head. So they spent much of the evening in the hospital. My grandmother again had talked about how much she missed my grandaddy and said how much she wanted to be with him again. She couldn't believe that he wasn't alive anymore and neither were any of her other family members. She was so saddened that she was the only one left. Hearing my mom tell me these stories just brought tears to my eyes. I never knew my grandfather because he passed away before my parents ever met, but I love listening to the stories my mom tells me about him.

The way my grandma longs for him hurts me. It is so incredibly sweet, yet so sad at the same time. I see it as a testament of what their love must have been. My mom has told me that when my grandmother was younger and my grandfather was still alive she was very active in different activities and always took care of herself and her home. This was also back in the 1940s - 1960's when most women did just that. To me she seemed like the quintessential housewife. I could write a whole new post on all the crafting and homemaking skills she has. She is by far one of the most talented women I've known. I so wish I could get some lessons from her in just a few of her skills. However, after my grandfather passed away she just sort of stopped caring. Her personal appearance and homemaking slowed down and her attitude towards life saddened.

Her house is one of my favorite places to visit. My grandfather built it by hand and the details he incorporated into the design are amazing. I would love to have a home just like it. Although it hasn't been maintained recently is still so neat. NOTHING of his has been moved since he passed away. In the basement there is a bulletin board with some of his work papers still tacked on it along with a picture of my mom from middle school. Everything is just the way he left it the day he passed away. The garage and attic are amazing too. All of his old tools and work material (he built houses for a living) haven't been touched since he was alive. It's like a museum, only a lot dustier!

Two years ago my family was visiting for Christmas and we called my grandmother to wish her a Merry Christmas. When I got on the phone with her, almost immediately she started telling me about how that day 30 some years ago she was sitting in the funeral parlor. I can't imagine spending the last 30+ years of your life with your heart aching for the one you love and feeling so lonely. That must have been some love. And even though my grandma and I weren't very close and I never really felt comfortable enough to ask her all the questions I have swirling about my head, I am so grateful to have gotten a glimpse into her life. She has so inspired me and she doesn't even know it.

Brady and his great-grandma.
Isn't her flowered hat cute?

4 comments:

The Neffs said...

Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. I am so sorry she is not well. What a blessing that she has such a good family to take care of her. It breaks my heart that she was asking about your grandfather and where he was. They must have had quite a deep love for eachother. Thanks for sharing about her. She sounds like shes lived an inspiring life. Have a good week.

mom said...

Audrey - this is such a sweet story that you wrote. I forwarded to Teresa so she could read it and maybe read it to Grandma. Thank you for writing it.

The Neffs said...

I gave your blog an award! Congrats! Merry Christmas!

Jessi said...

It sounds like your grandparents had the kind of love that lasts for an eternity. How heartbreaking it is that she is misses him so much, even after 30 years. You know they were deeply in love!

The pictures are precious.

I'm about an hour from Cincinnati!