On Living With My Grandmother.

Sodding bloody grife. Just when you think you have things figured out….

While I fret about the next phase in my life, my grandmother's grasp on reality rolls on like a sine wave.

She has a younger brother, Calvin. Calvin is in his low eighties. He had bypass surgery within the past five years. Last Tuesday Calvin had a stroke which left the left side of his body paralyzed and his eyes unable to open. He is, despite all this, somewhat lucid. My grandmother began to wail the other day that they were about to pull his plug–“They pull the plug after two days,” she said.

My parents took her to see Calvin on Friday. My father says it's not looking good, perhaps a matter of days or weeks. The quick summary of symptoms I gave above isn't the complete picture, but I don't know more. He said my grandmother, though, was completely oblivious to the damage the stroke had done.

After that she brought up Calvin once. Saturday morning, as I was on my way out the door to work, she asked if I could take her to the hospital in Rocky Mount when I got home from work. I told her I'd see–it was my birthday, and I didn't particularly want to spend it in a hospital, not when I had family coming in for a birthday party.

This morning she came into the office crying. “My brother's dead,” she said.

“I'm so sorry,” I said, somewhat confused. I'd talked to her at the breakfast table, and she'd said nothing about Calvin. And the phone hadn't rung all morning. So I was uncertain from where she'd received her information.

Suddenly, she stopped crying. Her whole demeanor changed. “Is your mother visiting Calvin today?”

“I'm sorry?” I said, still confused, but for different reasons.

“Did your mother go to the hospital?”

“Probably… not,” I said. “She'd be at work.”

“Can you take me to see Calvin this afternoon?”

“I have to work.” This conversation was pure mental whiplash.

And since then, she's said not one thing about Calvin. I'm making the assumption that Calvin is not dead because no one's called to tell me so.


Times like this make me wonder what the advantage is in moving to Baltimore with my grandmother. Yet I've come to realize the emotional burden living with my grandmother is, and I'm not at all certain that I'd want to subject that to my parents alone. Everyone needs emotional support.

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