Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Grandma Tales

Grandma's pet phrase, ever since she moved in with us seven years ago, has been "It's no fun getting old, but everybody does it." When she said it seven years ago, it was always the punch line to a funny joke--a way to bridge the gap between an old-age foible and on-going conversation.

In the last few years, it's not been a joke, but a statement of truth. Point of fact. It really isn't fun to get old. Not fun at all.

And then about a year ago, the phrase just lifted to the top of her brain as the thing to say whenever she couldn't think of the right thing to say. Those moments of not knowing what to say came more and more frequently. She would say it dozens of times a day. Over and over, back to back.

She said it once yesterday. It's not the phrase it used to be. As much as I was sick of hearing it, I wish she would use it again.

It's been replaced with two other phrases. The first is, "I just want to go to heaven." Completely understandable. If I were in her position, that's what I would want, too. This one is sometimes altered to "I just want to die" and that is sometimes changed to "I don't want to die" and once it came out, "I don't want to go to heaven." Well, we know that isn't true.

But more often than "I just want to go to heaven," she says, "I don't know what to do!" She says it as if she's just bounced a check, or lost her toddler, or discovered a giant chicken in the room. She is quite worried about what to do. When she says "I don't know what to do!" we query her.

FAQ from the family when Grandma says, "I don't know what to do!":

  1. Do about what?
  2. What would you like to do?
  3. Is there something you think you need to do?
  4. Why are you worried about what to do?
  5. Is there a giant chicken in here?

Grandma is dying. I understand that. We're all OK with it.

I just wish she knew what to do.