Thursday, November 22, 2007

laughing on the outside

hey, it's thanksgiving...a day of, well, thanks. and the kids and i talked a lot about thanks today. it was a good day...and for that i am thankful.

my grandparents came by today. well, since they were diagnosed with alzheimer's and senior dementia, they don't drive. but my parents (dad and stepmom) brought them by (along with sister and a brother) on their way to relocating my grandparents to a different assisted living program. (relocating them from the town my stepmom lives in to the town her brother lives's his turn) now, these are technically my stepgrandparents, but i've known them since i was a baby. and while my grandmother (who we happen to call yang yang, write yy) didn't like me for a long time...probably until i turned nineteen or grandfather (who we call papa) has always been a very sweet man and made up (mostly) for my grandmother's meanness. and btw, she was kind of mean to everyone, not just me, and that, ultimately, helped too... (man that was a lot of commas) that they're older and, well, losing their's my yy who's kind of sweet to be around and papa always looks really stressed out. so it's strange. i think they both know something's up and they are not functioning at normal capacity. but while yy just kind of shrugs her shoulders and gives this, "well, what the fuck you gonna do?" kind of expression, papa looks like he wants to cry but is too pissed off to do it. that part's pretty sad if you think about it. but see, here's the deal, you just can't really think about it. because it sucks. i mean, it's part of life, and i can accept that. they're well into their eighties if they haven't already crossed over into their nineties...they've had good, full lives... but just like my calf hurts when i run too much, they just lived too much, and now their brains are, well, wearing down is a nice way of saying it.

it's weird because i don't really miss the way they were. (yy really was pretty bitchy) and seeing papa like this has kind of made me distrustful of all the good stuff before...(like, was he really this surly inside and just being nice outside? i don't's just weird) and it isn't just some selfish "will this be me in the future?" because i don't think it will necessarily be alzheimer's that gets me. and truthfully, they aren't miserable. i mean, there are moments of recognition on their faces, but they come and go, just like whether they know who i am, or what my name is, or who the hell all these kids are. my grandfather was working really hard to remember what my husband does for a living. he was someone who talked to N a lot about med school and i could tell he wanted to bring that stuff up. but all he could remember was doctor of pharmacy, which N isn't, but close enough.

we all smiled a lot today. i served them food and yy had to ask my sister what my name was so she could tell me lunch was good. we talked about some stuff they remembered and let go the stuff they didn't. i worried when my grandmother walked out of the house and my mom didn't go after her the same way i would if a mama let their child go to the car unaccompanied. my dad made my youngest child cry. my brother played with my kids and sucked his thumb and helped my grandfather buckle his seat belt. my sister tried to make everything alright and did a hell of a job of it. my mom likes my house and drank hot tea here...kind of what i see as her baptizing a new place. there was much laughing and smiling going on. but the fact that i sit here crying as i type this makes me think there's a lot more going on inside....and i'm thankful for that shit, too.


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