Sometimes you have so many thoughts twirling in your head, that you don’t know what to say at all. Sometimes all of those thoughts and emotions get wrapped up into a ball and it’s easier to leave them there for a while. Sometimes it’s easier to spend a few days writing about clams. It’s taken me a few days to write this. I kept trying, but I couldn’t do it without getting blurry eyed. And part of me feels like my blog is supposed to offer a few fleeting moments of happiness, never be a source of sadness, or serve up unnecessary melodrama. But Grandma P. has been an integral part of this little blog ‘o mine for a year now, so I thought you should know how she’s doing since we found she had fallen.
After she didn’t return my call about the meatloaf, after my parents found her and took her to the hospital, she spent many days with a high fever. She wasn’t able to articulate very much, except for one thing. My mom called me from her hospital bed because Grandma P. wanted to ask me a question. She gave her the cell phone and she struggled to ask me one simple question.
“What did you write about on your blog today?” she asked very slowly.
I didn’t have it in me to tell her I’d written about her. But it made me smile. Because it represented in a lot of ways what has kept her going this year. As someone who has always been fiercely independent, who “has no time for old people,” whose friends are all under 50, being immobile this past year has been hard on her pride. It has frustrated her spirit. The way you all have embraced her has given her a sense of purpose and motivation. And all of your emails and comments have given me a sense of comfort, and brought tears to my eyes because of how poetic and true they all were.
I’ve been waiting to see if I needed to jump on a plane, and been utterly frustrated by how unhelpful all of the airlines have been. What helped me decide was my friend Julia, who drove up from medical school in Philadelphia to see my grandmother when I told her. Julia and I used to work at my grandmother’s toy store together when we were in middle school and high school, and that experience of managing my grandmother’s “creative insanity” forever cemented our friendship.
Julia called me as she was leaving the hospital the second day and said, “George, (she always calls me George), she struggled to just say one thing to me and I told her I would relay the message. She said very slowly, ‘Tell Georgia I love her.’”
Julia said, “George, you should come home.”
So I booked a flight. My saving grace was a woman named “Monique” at American Express and a little angel with a lot of American Express points. I’m taking a red-eye tonight.
Right now Grandma P.’s muscles are paralyzed from some sort of virus. It is possible that it is from Lymes disease, ushered in by her two favorite cats, which never quite went away. That’s what is making it hard for her to talk or move, which must be frustrating for someone who has such an active mind, and who has no time for being old.
I pray that she fights through this because I really think it’s too soon. There is too much unfinished business. And too much she and I were looking forward to. I want her to read my book when it comes out, she had many opinions on the title and cover as she always does, and had this idea for a big book and food party at her church in my hometown. At the very least, I’m going to bring the galley copy and read it to her.
Thank you so much for your support and for reigniting her sense of purpose every day. I am grateful that you’re willing to share the good and the bad with me.