My grandmother. Is 95. Her name is Dorothy and she's the mother of my father. She is a little bit of a hellraiser of a woman, or used to be in her day. Now she is 95 and only recently is every bit as old as that sounds. A few years back she had a major stroke which slowed her down significantly, but before that she would gallivant all around this country and WORLD even with her various grandchildren, loving people and loving life. My grandfather Harold returned Home about 18 years ago now. But he has never left my grandmother. And even though she lost a big part of herself then, she has stilled lived life just as much as anyone ever has. But now her body has finally caught up with her age. She is in an assisted living facility. It's marvelous there, really. But still. It's not quite the same. It's like a nursery, or a zoo, or an acquarium. Full of old people. Many of whom still have the spirit to live, but the bodies can't keep up. I don't go see my grandmother very often anymore. I can't stand to see her deteriorate the way she has. I know it's even worse for her, since it's HER body that won't keep up. Her mind is still pretty sharp, but all of her senses are letting her down, so she seems crazy, but it's just because she's not getting all the input that the rest of us get. Her responses and comments make perfect sense based on the information she's receiving.
I love my grandma dearly and I always WANT to go spend time with her, but then I think of how difficult it is for her to hear and speak and see and move. I get exhausted just worrying about it. I know how long it takes to have a conversation with her. But I know that I should go. I know she'd love to see me ... heck, she watched me grow, literally. She's lived in my parent's house since my grandpa died. But I just can't make myself go out there and see her. And smell the building, and see the old people that I can't do anything to help.
There's a Death Cab for Cutie song called "What Sarah Said." In it there's a line that says "love is watching someone die." And I know that's true and I want to have that kind of love for my grandmother, but it's so hard. So hard to make myself leave my comfortable world and go out there just to spend time with her.