I’ve written on this blog a fair amount about my deceased Grandma, I think probably because I started this blog in 2002, (well the forerunner to what became this blog) and she died in 2003.
My Grandma B is alive. For the majority of my life I used to call her once a week and make my friends laugh because my accent would become super northern as a result. Telling my Grandma about my week (and editing heavily as I got older) was just what I did. I took her on a phone tour of this house when we bought it and sent her pictures of the garden when she got a smart phone.
She’s in a carehome because she has dementia. It’s pretty bad. Mum and my uncle have been sorting through the house in order to sell it to fund the carehome. Mum put together some bits and pieces as well as some letters from Grandma to me that she had kept. As it turns out there are letters from both Grandma’s in there. The earliest one is from when I was two, about a month before The Princess was born. For some reason the part that got me crying is the part that instructs me; “Mummy will read this letter to you but do tell Mummy that it isn’t her letter it is yours.”
Well it is now.
I haven’t seen my Grandma in a while, the last time was about two years ago via Skype when she was very happy about the baby that someone had given her to hold and play with. Occasionally someone would remind her that the baby was her great-grandson.
I visited her last, with The Jellicle pre-transition and we played word games and cards. I did another very late visit one early December to drop off gifts.
I had to stop seeing Terry Pratchett when he had Alzheimer’s so I’ve been even worse when it comes to a relative. It isn’t just that though. Back when I used to call her at uni, I was hugely conscious one Sunday of sitting on the sideboard at my (female) lover’s kitchen and not telling my Grandma about the biggest thing in my life that week, working with the QUILTBAG society on some poster campaign or other. The Jellicle hasn’t seen her post transition because it’s just easier than constantly trying to explain to an elderly woman with dementia. Though she was very with it when it came to me talking about my gay friends before her memory started dissolving around her taking my Grandma with it.
When you know that to open your mouth and talk about your life will make people uncomfortable you stop doing it. At first you talk around things but then you just stop talking.
And then an old lady who you love gets an illness that dissolves her away and it’s just easier to stick to Christmas and birthdays despite the efforts she made for you when your brain was struggling to form.
There’s no getting away from the guilt but I don’t know what to do with it exactly.