Today I went out for dinner with my Grandma and Aunt in Vancouver at a great Italian place on Commercial. This is my Dad’s mom and my dad’s sister. (My grandpa I have spoken about before is my mom’s dad).
My Grandma was diagnosed with Lupus many years ago, and at first that seemed to only affect her with pesky rashes etc. About 2 years ago, it started to attack her mobility, almost completely curtailing her ability to get around. Until this time, she was still walking every morning down the New Westminster Quay to the market. Grandma never learned to drive, and as a result uses transit or her feet to go where she wants to go. Her condo is at the base of the New Westminster Skytrain (that’s a subway, Ontario people) station, so it has never been too difficult for her.
With drugs, a cane, a walker and a great rheumotologist, Grandma has regained her mobility but it has been a struggle for her. She debates with herself about perhaps leaving her condo and moving to a retirement residence. She doesn’t want to leave her beloved Frasier river, friends, and New Westminster and I suspect does not want to move into this seemingly final phase of her life. Putting herself in the home with other people her age is like accepting old age and infirment and therefore, a restricted life. Shouldn’t we all “Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light?” Fight to live the longest life on our terms how and where we want to? It is a difficult question, one that I am sure all children and parents try to balance. Keep your loved ones safe, but also let them live their life. How do you find this balance? My three aunts (my dad’s 3 sisters), are of different opinions on what should be done, how it should be accomplished and how it should come about. They are all right of course – because how can you be wrong when all you are trying to do is keep your mother’s best interest in your heart?
During my trip to Vancouver, I spent the afternoon with her. We settled back into her condo and enjoyed ourselves just talking about things. We discussed religion, death, funerals, ageing, and many other light subjects. I reminded her that I am her favourite granddaughter, despite my cousin Alicia’s attempts at the title. (I let her try, everyone gets the chance to compete. I am the first born of the first born son, how can anyone else have a chance? Alicia is competing using great Grandchildren – a cheap trick if you ask me).
She also asks about my grandpa too and enjoys hearing the stories about Retirement Residence living. My grandma always asks “How old is he now?” And when I answer – this time saying “97 – 98 in June” – she always gasps in appreciation of his longevity. Oh, My! My goodness. Wow. 98!! That’s extraordinary!
Really? You’re NINETY-TWO Grandma!
February 28 Extra-Ordinary Event: Realizing Perspective really does make all the difference.