My grandmother's health has been in decline since she suffered a serious stroke in early 2007 and even though she was eventually moved back into her home in Winchester, her life as I knew it was gone. The trauma to the body from the initial stroke was quite severe and her mortality became a reality that my mother and her sibilings had to face in a very real way for the first time since she had taken a serious fall a few years earlier. Despite making a significant recovery, her body suffered a series of smaller strokes through out the rest of 2007 robbing my grandmother of her ability to live independently.
When I picture my grandmother, I think of a waif-like, tiny woman flitting about town running a list of never ending errands that always made her children and grandchildren pale with concern whenever they heard she was getting into a car. The thought of my grandmother driving (even in her best of days was not for the faint of heart). I think of her in the family house at 8 Girard Road, of her coming or going to Florida, painting, playing bridge, talking about her golf game or friends and family. Perhaps if I'm nostalgic, I think of her with my grandfather, "Papa", who passed away in the mid-90s.
I visited my grandmother on a beautiful winter day in the Winchester Hospital back in December of 2007. Despite the surroundings, we spent time together reminiscing. Looking especially tiny in her hospital bed but cogniscent of all that was happening, my grandmother and I talked about everything and nothing. Walking out the door that afternoon, I knew I would not have that kind of time again with my Nana. A chapter - an epic chapter for me - would be coming to a close and shortly.
Fast forward 6 months later and my grandmother is still alive, but I'm not sure she is very alert anymore. I read on my uncle Joseph's blog that all the aunts and uncles assembled at her place in Winchester for one last party with Nana to celebrate her life and their lives together. I think it is incredibly touching and was wondering what my parents, aunts and uncles took away from the evening. I hope they are buoyed by the countless number of happy memories my grandmother has armed them with for this moment. I'm sure at some point in the near future I will be writing about my grandmother in the past tense and it will be an awful moment, but it has been obvious to everyone who loves and cares for her that my grandmother is merely alive these days and no longer really living - at least not how we think of our Nana living.