Editor’s note: the following post is taken from a journal entry from Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007. I previously typed 2005, so the events described happened two days ago, not two years ago.
Tomorrow morning at 10, my family will gather to pray. They will [then] go to my grandmother’s apartment to tell her that they have decided to move her in a nursing home that they have already selected and reserved for her. It’s a formality. A painful formality but a formality. It isn’t a suggestion or a request. It is more along the line of “We regret to inform you,” only without the shield of anonymity. The receiver of the message in this case is indeed known to the messengers.
She won’t last long in the nursing home. My mother said my grandmother’s blood pressure dropped to 83 over 30 earlier today, although her vitals have been very good up to this point. My mom is heartbroken. She does not want to put my grandmother in a home, but she is also physically unable to care for my grandmother at her apartment or to relocate my grandmother to my mother’s home. She can’t lift my grandmother, at least not several times per day. Collectively, the family is tired. My grandmother now requires around-the-clock care for activities she proudly performed herself less than a year ago, in that faraway land before the stroke induced falls trapped her in her body and confined her to her bed and sofa.
When did life get so hard?
Tomorrow, I will get up, pack my things and drive with the wife to Salinas to help with the transition. I’m the favorite grandson. My grandmother lived with us and saved me from many a spanking as a child, playing the part of generational ombudsman and referee between my mother and I.
They will come for me one day. They will meet in another home, pray and file into my bedroom to read the verdict. No one escapes this. In the end, we will all get shipped off to a quiet room in a residential care facility, where we will wait quietly for our appointment with death. In the millennia of human history, you would think they would have found a more pleasant alternative, but they haven’t. It’s the same practice of relegating our elders to a glorified waiting room near the city cemetery.