neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

Grandma's birthday

Went up to northwest New Jersey to celebrate Grandma S.'s ninetieth birthday.  I brought earrings I'd made, and a couple boxes of tea.  I slept most of the trip up, which was probably for the best.  Mom and Dad had actually remembered to bring CDs, and they put in one that was perky religious music, but I still managed to doze through it.

At the birthday lunch, I sat next to Aunt A., and we caught up.  She has a terrible cough, even with strong cough medicine.  She's still quite with it, though, and wants to get her affairs as in order as possible while she can.  She was talking about starting hospice, though her doctor didn't think she needed it yet.  I told her not to be shy about getting help when she needed it.  In the retirement community she's living in, there are independent-living apartments, assisted-living apartments, and skilled care, so she'll be able to go to skilled care when she needs it, and will be in the same building or group of buildings.  It's a comfort to her that she won't have to move, and that friends can come visit her.

Aunt A. said the doctor was encouraging her to eat fattening foods, to keep on what weight she could.  She hadn't gained a whole lot back after last year's chemotherapy and radiation.  Aunt A. said she was sitting out in the sun, too.  For so many years, she tried to stay out of the sun to protect her skin, as healthcare people advised.  Now she has nothing to lose by sitting out and enjoying the nice days.  It was comforting for me to hear that she's doing what she wants to do, for as long as she feels up to it.

J. and K. made it, and I caught up with them, too.  K. is enjoying her new job, she said.  Much less stressful than the last one.  I was glad to hear that.  My cousin R. is pregnant.  I'd heard about that, but hadn't seen it.  She was painfully thin for some years there, and now she looks healthier, with her face more rounded, and more weight on her generally.  Everyone but R.'s sister P. was there.  P. was in Paris doing fashion design buying.  The S.'s are the part of the family that has done very well.  They're generous, though.  Aunt P. and Uncle D. let me stay with them for four days in March, providing the odd meal when we were all there at once, and telling me to make myself at home with everything.  They often host family holidays, too, though Aunt P. doesn't cook.

Some of Grandma S.'s old friends came, too, people she'd known for sixty years or so.  They remembered her children and their spouses.  I think it was nice for Grandma to see them, too.

There was an "after-party" in Grandma S.'s room.  I snagged one of the chairs and put my foot up.  Normally I'd let one of the older generations sit on a chair while I sat on the floor, but this visit was a little different.  Grandma S. backed up in her wheelchair so more people could get in, until she backed into my walker.  She fixed course until she was sitting beside me, and we caught up a bit.  I explained about the ankle, as I'd explained several times already at lunchtime.  I think I got pretty tacky by taking off the walking cast and showing her the incision scar, and how the plate was almost right underneath the skin there.  R. did not want to see my scar, but a few other random relatives took a look.  I asked J. if he wanted to see.  "Nice scar," he said.

Well, Mom and Dad hadn't even wanted Grandma S. to know about me breaking my ankle, because they didn't want to worry her.  Aunt P. told her, and she sent a get-well card.  There I was showing off my scar the first time I'd seen her since I did it.  But I'm in relatively little pain now, I'm walking on it, and I told the crew that I was getting physical therapy, so they know I'm getting better.  The older relatives still treat the grandchildren fairly gently, not wanting to concern them, but want to know what's going on with us.  Aunt A. and I talked quite calmly about how she was preparing for the last few months of her life.  She's realistic that she doesn't have much time left, but she's religious, so she must be sure she's going to a better place.

It was nice to see everyone, and talk to several that I'd really wanted to talk to.  I didn't get too much chance to talk to the younger boy cousins, but talked with both Aunt P.'s for a while.  I figure that the younger boy cousins, the ones in their early twenties, will probably outlive me by quite a bit, so I'll have time to talk with them for years to come.  I think J. is really ready to have children in the next couple of years, so I might be an aunt myself soon enough.  We'll see how K. feels about that, and whether they've been able to afford a house by then.  J.'s clock is ticking, anyway.  I look forward to being a wacky aunt.

I'm physically very tired from being in the car for six hours, and I didn't even do any driving.  It's still kind of hard on the body, though, and my ankle is swollen and stiff.  I'll do what exercises I can tonight, then do them soon after I get up in the morning.  Sometime we've got to arrange for a sleepover trip when we visit the relatives in the various parts of northern New Jersey. 

Tags: family

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