Monday, June 1, 2009


I could barely sleep at all last night.

My first thought at 4:30 this morning was just to cry.

My Grandma isn't well.

I don't know what to do.

Is there something that I can do?

My mom says that she is just deteriorating right before her eyes. She says that Grandma has changed so much in the last year that it's hard to believe.

She fell last week. In her kitchen. It wasn't the first time. She had her cell phone nearby but she couldn't remember how to call my mom and her vision was blurry with the tears so it took her a while to get herself up. The last time this happened she couldn't do it.

My mind was racing all night just with fear that I haven't spent enough time with her, that I will never know what is in her mind, that I will get her stories wrong when I tell them to my kids if I ever have any. I used to wish that she would live to see a great-grandchild and now I don't think either of us will be that fortunate.

My dad says that there is no sense in feeling guilty, that it's life and there is nothing you can do. I guess, but I know for a fact that both my mom and my grandma feel like I abandoned them by moving to Seattle. Could I really handle being this far away if something should happen?

I just told two friends yesterday that I really don't want to move back to Illinois, but then there is this.

Sometimes I think that my family really thinks I am a huge failure. They expected me to go to college and get some excellent job and buy a home, etc. I tell this to a lot of people but I really believe that people who are first generation Americans have a wildly different sets of pressures and expectations from their families. My mom was utterly convinced that I should have been making at least 40 k right out of college. The whole waitressing/interning thing didn't sit well with her.

Just yesterday my Grandma was telling me that I should really buy a home. I said sure I'll do that as if it's some big joke. But, she's not joking. She was in the States for one year when my Grandpa and her bought their home. She really believes that I can just do it if I save enough. The notion of me trying to live my own life and travel and change cities and possibly move abroad is ridiculous to her. The whole family thinks that I should live at home with them and go to school for a "career" and then stay at home and work until I could buy myself a condo or something.

I didn't love the movie, but I thought Nia Vardalos totally got it in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Of course her character was the perfect daughter anyway. I was never that. The fact is that the family drives me crazy. Last time I was there we all sat around the dinner table for hours and my mom and Uncle bickered until I just had to leave and I wished that I could spend a day with only Grandma. It was impossible. Even now I worry that if the two of us spent a day alone, I wouldn't know where to take her. Could she walk from the car to the door of a restaurant? Can I help her out of the car? I joked with her yesterday that we should go somewhere fancy and drink champagne to celebrate and she reminded me that she takes too many pills for champagne now.

Sometimes I think that the only good times my Grandma had with me were when I was little. We would just spend hours in the kitchen making rolls and sweets and all kinds of things that I have no idea how to make now. There are plenty of pictures of us in the kitchen and several where she put flour on my nose and we were laughing our heads off.

When I was in high school I thought cooking was stupid and that my mom was wasting her life in the kitchen. Yesterday Grandma even said that she thinks cooking makes you old. I know what a cliche this is but I wish desperately that I could go back in time now and just record her giving me instructions in the kitchen. I wish that I hung out with her everyday and that I loved and appreciated her more and

I'm getting myself really worked up now. I don't want to move back to Illinois, but then there is this. Maybe if we have more time to be together.....

1 comment:

  1. Don't feel guilty! I know that I didn't spend as much time with my grandparents as I should have, but I am so thankful for the time that I did have with them. You probably have more memories that you realize. Just make time each week (or more often if you like) to make it a point to call your grandma and visit with her. Ask questions, get her to tell you stories. You could write it down or next time you visit you could even "interview" her on video. My cousin did that with my Granny and it's really neat to see!