Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My Nanny is dying.

She's my father's mother - a Catholic who married a Lutheran, lived through the depression, put up with weekly emergency room visits from her spawn, put the majority of said spawn through college, and still somehow managed to stay sane throughout it all.

She's someone who always snuck me candy when my parents weren't looking, she made me eat my carrots, and she used to sit quietly in the corner and smile to herself as she watched the chaos unfold around her. The eye of the storm, as it were.

That said, we aren't particularly close. With 20-something cousins (and counting), her attentions were always split among us. I also very rarely ever saw her but two or three times a year - I spoke to her maybe a time or two more than that. Sad reflection on today's society and youth, but there you have it. The facts.

Nanny has Alzheimer's disease. She's had it for a few years now, and she just keeps getting worse and worse. It's to the point now where she can't even finish a sentence - where she doesn't even recognize her own children, much less her grandchildren.

She can't walk anymore. She sits in the nursing home, vacantly staring at the television screen, avoiding eye contact with everyone around her. Some days she's ok. Some days it's like there's still a glimmer of her old self in there. Other days though...other days aren't so good. I don't know what's more heartbreaking, her presence or her absence.

My father's family is, understandably, crushed. They don't know what to do, or how to act. The last two years has been a shit-show worthy of the worst reality-television series. First there was arguing about which hospital to put her in when she had her heart attack. Then there was arguing about which nursing home to put her in. Then they started fighting over who would have power of attorney. How much to sell the house for. Who to sell the house to. What to do with her estate.

And now, they still argue. Oh no, we can't go up and visit - it'd be too many people. Oh my gosh, nobody ever visits, she's getting lonely.

My father's family, I've decided, bleeds their pain out through arguing.

And then there's me. Is it wrong to hope that Nanny dies? She's said multiple times that she wants to. She wants to join her husband in death.

I can only hope that she'll find solace in death. Because she's sure as hell not getting it now.

I don't know what that says about how much I care about her. I do. I think I love her.

I just hate seeing her in pain.


  1. No- you aren't wrong for feeling that. I always think the best thing you can do for a person is to give them permission to go. Really. People fight the good fight and stay on longer than they should because of other people. And even though it hurts to say goodbye to someone...you have to. It's just a part of life. Enjoy the time you had with them, give them permission to go if they want to. Wishing for another day is selfish when the other person is ultimately suffering. I will think good thoughts for you-- it will get better. Try to ignore all of the arguing because it's not how you want to remember her passing.

  2. Thankyou for that Sara. And I fully expect to say goodbye to her - I just wish she could live out the rest of her life in peace.


Because I'm needy.