Goodbye, Eleanor

by statia on July 27, 2009

I called my mother this morning, as I do, on my way home dropping the Mini off from camp.  She sounded kind of annoyed when I called.  Figuring my father probably left crumbs on the counter or put dirty dishes in a dishwasher full of clean dishes again, I asked her what was wrong.  I was not prepared, however, for the response.

“Grandma died.”

I was pretty blown away.   It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, well, ever.

And I’m not really sure how I feel.

Am I remorseful that I didn’t have a relationship with her as I got older?   I’ve written before, that my grandmother wasn’t exactly a nice woman.  She wasn’t mean, but she was just, well.. stubborn.  Stubborn, German, opinionated.  She had a tough childhood.  She grew up in an orphanage at a time when orphanages were run by strict nuns, who thought children should be seen, not heard.  Because of this, she felt the world owed her.  What I’m not sure.  Pity?

Because of our similar personalities, we clashed.  When I was younger, she said some choice words to me, which caused me to tell her right where she could stick it.  Being 13, I was a pretty defiant and stubborn ass in my own right, but it doesn’t excuse what she said to me, and I stand by that.   Because of this, she never forgave me, I don’t think, and because of her harsh way of talking to people, I never really felt the need to reach out to her.   When I was younger, however, we were close and because of this, I’m not sure if I feel bad because I never mended that fence, and she was the only grandparent I ever knew and had a relationship with.

Then there’s feeling bad for my mother.  Because of all mentioned above, my mother has had her own tumultuous relationship with her over the years, and because of this, she chose to not really see her or deal with her.   I know that my mother is hurting.  I know she loved her mother despite everything, and is going to be dealing with a lot of her own shit in the next few weeks, months and the rest of her life.

And of course there’s the fact that a death in the family, especially one of a close relative, forces you to not only to realize your own mortality, but the mortality of your own parents.   As my parents get older, I know they’re not going to be around forever and it’s hard to deal with not having your parents around.   Funny for me to say that, after everything I’ve been through with them.   My mom and I are friends.  She loves my kids as much as I do, and does a lot for us.  Not having her around would be hard for me.

Lastly, my grandmother died alone.  As we all do, I guess, but her death was sudden and unexpected.   She died in her apartment, and because she lived by herself, it wasn’t discovered for a couple of days.  Which is bothersome.   I couldn’t imagine dying like that.

So R.I.P, Grandma.


Shanna July 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm

That’s a shitty situation all around.

I have a friend who lost a parent under similar circumstances – parent lived alone, died alone, was not discovered immediately. Relationship there was not the greatest. The mixed emotions thing is CRAZY. I have much more to say on this, but not in a comment and I won’t presume to email you about it – but if you want, you know how to find me.

Peace to you and your mom – and to Grandma, wherever she is.

donna July 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Your post obviously strikes a chord with me. I know we’ve compared notes on this topic before. I’m sorry. I know it sucks. As long as she was alive the option was there to make reach out her at some point, and now that option is gone. I know I’ll feel the exact same way when my grandmother dies. And yet I’m not especially motivated to reach out to mine.

Damn, I’m a stubborn bitch.

Anyway, I’m sorry. I know it will be a sad time and I’m sorry for your mom. No matter what, losing a parent is really hard.

Amy July 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Statia, I’m sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I’m also glad you and your mom have reconciled… it’s good to heal those close relationships when we can.

Betty M July 28, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I am sorry for your family’s loss. Losing a parent or grandparent is hard whatever the relationship.

Kevin Donahue July 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

So sorry, S.

tuesday July 29, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I felt the same way when my grandmother died. Feeling sorry for my mother, but not really anything else.

I am sorry.

Flicka July 29, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Oh Statia, I’m sorry. That’s a lot of emotion and history. I hope you and your mom both find peace and healing in the days to come.

MsPrufrock July 29, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I don’t have a great relationship with my Dad (as you know), but I USED to, which I guess counts for something. Given his love of alcohol and his inability to let it go, I think of the likelihood of his death, alone, quite often. Cheery stuff.

Echoing my twitter sentiments, I’m sorry for your loss.

Tonya August 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Statia, I’m saddened to learn of your loss. I hope that time brings a least some measure of peace to you and your mom.

robyn August 16, 2009 at 4:55 am

I’m so sorry.

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