Hey! Welcome to 52 weeks until I’m 50 years old! Actually it’s now 37 weeks until I’m 50! If you are new to my blog, to the right are other subjects I’ve written. Some may resonate with you or at least give you a chuckle. If you are counting down with me,so glad you are still with me!
A year or more ago, one of my very best friends Michael was laughing with me about getting old. I mentioned that when I go visit my grandmother who is 102, I leave shaking my head. I want to live a long, healthy life as she has, but I definitely don’t want to be where she is now. I call it the “dark side.” Not that it isn’t a lovely place. It is. Caring people are there to watch over her. I walk down this hallway to see her. I have to be buzzed in and folks there want to follow me out. Alarms sometimes go off. I mentioned to Michael how I find most of the residents dozing in chairs while others are chattering on with no one listening. I giggle and tell him that I see the two of us there with our spouses, a few other friends and that I hope I am unaware if he dozes off while I’m gabbing away! He asked me where my Anne lived. I tell him Deerfield. He then asked me the name of the place. I started to laugh. I said, “Do you think after all these conversations that it’s possible that our Grandmother’s live together on the “dark side?” We both started to laugh and sure enough, they did!
Over the last year, he has visited what he calls the “Nana’s” often. He sends pictures to me of his visits with my Grandmother Anne and of his beautiful Grandmother also. He’s bumped into my Mother there and has taken photos with her also! She’s the good one. She visits several times a week. He’s taunted me in a fun, caring way to get over and see the Nana’s. I must have 15 pictures of him with my Anne. She adores him! But, I haven’t been able to bring myself to visit Anne for a while. When she lived down the street from me, I would take her food shopping every week. We did lunch. She complained about getting in my small car at one point, and then complained about stepping up into my big truck also. She was feisty. She was beautiful. I would be in the elevator with her and it never failed, some older gentleman would always start-up a conversation. She had a swagger in her walk. She was tough. Constantly correcting my grammar if I misspoke. It must have been the grammar school teacher in her. She introduced me to the beauty of jewelry. Probably one of the things I could have done without. She had season tickets to the Jackie Gleason Theater and took me to see all the shows. She had fantastic seats! She made me work around her scheduled evenings between bingo, cards, shows and dates. She was married three times and often shared advice about men which I still chuckle now when I think back. So why can’t I go to the “dark side” more often?
I forced myself to visit today for a few reasons. I wanted to take my own mental pictures of her. I wanted to remind myself how to live today in the present moment and not miss anything. I wanted to spend a few minutes with the woman who expected so much from me. I miss seeing her. Even though she is “not what she use to be.” That’s her line, she is still here at 102, locked in, down the aisle on the “dark side.” Up until a few years ago, she still had her faculties. Now, she’s a shell of the tough, direct woman I grew up loving. When I walked into the lunch room, I saw her clapping. That’s her new thing. She never stops. It drives the other residents nuts. It could be worse, she could be yelling or cursing. Clapping is a good thing. She hums also. I guess that’s where I get my love of the music inside me. When her eyes looked up in the lunch room, she knew I was there for her. Somewhere, in her long-term memory, she remembered something about me. Maybe the smile I smile shows a goofiness when I feel sad but don’t want to show it. It took all I had not to tear up seeing her. While she ate, I wandered over to the other lunch room and there was Michael’s Grandmother. She’s beautiful. I introduced myself and pulled out my phone to show her the pictures of her grandson, his wife and me. We chatted. She had such a grand smile and I felt all warm and mushy after our time together. Snap, we took a picture and captured that moment. Of course I couldn’t wait to send it to him and say “nah nah nah nah nah! I’m here!”
I looked around again as I walked down the “dark side” hallway to exit with the special code. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that life can be long sometimes. If I’m going to be one of the residents in the “dark side,” I’m going to want some serious fun there. None of that pudding crap. Make it creme brulee. And, I want to wear bright clothes that don’t match so my friends can still see me through their old eyes. It would be nice to have a great roommate who didn’t complain or snore. I hope by then there are colored Depends so they won’t be so boring to wear. And, I hope that my buddies decide to live where I do so we can still make each other laugh when we can’t remember our names. But most of all, I’d like to still clap, laugh and smile at everyone like Anne does. She makes the “dark side” a little brighter.
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