As usual when I am stateside, which means I get Singapore Airlines asking for a letter of invitation and Homeland Security forcing me through secondary immigration – I have been trying to make sure that I visit my sole remaining Grandmother each time. I don’t remember my dad’s dad – I was too young when he died. The next one to go was my mom’s dad – the one I really knew as Grandpa. I can’t easily describe how he came to America but the details behind this man are slowly unraveling but we will probably never know the rest of the story. I miss my Grandpa terribly – he was a jolly man to be around. My Dad’s mom was the next go and she was a quirky woman who loved playing cards, drinking beer and watching boxing. If she were still alive I am sure she would get a kick out of the pictures of me and Manny Pacquiao.
So all that is left is my mom’s mom – Grandma. All of her brothers and sisters lived to a good age and Grandma is the last one – over 90 and full of stories. I somehow wish I could do some sort of Vulcan mind meld and just download bits of her life and memories into my head. Sounds weird but I know that when she passes that will be the last of the data from that generation. It saddens me quite a bit.
Visiting Grandma though is an adventure in and of itself. A year or so back the family decided that Grandma needed more care than any relative or friend could give her at home. It is always tough to come to that decision but seeing Grandma in a managed care home is an easy reminder that it is the right place for her and that she is doing well. Yes – none of us want to be there but sometimes that is the only option. She is still smiling though, gets her hair done regularly and likes to complain a lot. All old Italian women complain so this is normal and a good sign.
The fun part is dealing with the rest of folks at the home. There is the old Italian lady who appears to lecture use every time in Italian. She speaks English and is a likeable gal but seems to fall back to talking to us in Italian. I have no idea what she is saying but I just smile. There is also the lady who seems to think we all work at the place – she asks us why we think it is okay to stand around. Then she proceeded to tell my Dad that he will always be a private with no hope of promotion given his work habits. I was going to laugh but honestly I am afraid of this chick so I kept a straight face and did not reply.
I could go on but needless to say I always feel pretty blessed about my life and family when I visit my Grandma. I also remind myself that my life is pretty damn good.