Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GAN

Fmom was born an only child. Her mother died shortly after Fmom was born and she never knew her. Her Father, my Grandfather had to travel and was gone most of the time because of his work, so Fmom was raise by her Aunts and Uncles. The one that really raised her and she looked at more as a mother was Great Aunt N (GAN). GAN was an old maid schoolteacher that didn’t take any flack from anyone. When we were kids and came home to visit, we would always stop in the little town where GAN and the other aunts and uncles lived and then on to my other grandparents house to stay.

Whenever we stopped at GAN’s house it would almost take a day, because we would have to go to each aunt and uncles house to visit. As a little kid this was always great because each aunt and uncle would want to spoil us in the little time they had. At GAN’s house lived Uncle J. Uncle J had been in World War I and had been gassed. I never knew the whole story, but Uncle J had lived with GAN ever since I could remember. Uncle J was one of the chief spoilers when we came home. Not that he had candy or things to give us, but he spoiled us with his time. He was always there when we wanted to do something. From walking down to the railroad that ran behind GAN’s house, to going to the pond, to just sitting on the front porch and talking with us as if we were adults. He was never condescending and you could always feel warmth and caring from him. GAN however, was different. We knew she loved us, but she didn’t put up with any bratty behavior and after one time of acting like a brat in her house, you never did it again. As I said, she was an old maid schoolteacher and knew how to handle brats.

This story is about GAN and how I wished I had done more. We don’t have snow or ice down here often, but long after GAN retired and Uncle J was gone, GAN was visiting a friend one day. As she was leaving, she slipped on a patch of ice and fell and broke her hip. This was bad enough, but shortly thereafter she had a stroke. She was in the hospital for a long time and then in a nursing home. I had gone to visit GAN with the family, but didn’t go with any regularity. One reason was I was still in high school and didn’t have a car that would make it that far and the other was, I’m sad to say, I was to caught up in myself to think about it. This changed once I started college and lived in the city she was in.

GAN recovered from her stoke enough to where she could get around and speak clearly, but she couldn’t take care of herself. At this time my father had become sick and Fmom was struggling to take care of him and my two younger brothers. So as with many old people whom can’t take care of themselves, GAN had to live in a nursing home. I got into the habit of every Saturday dropping over to see GAN. This turned into a regular Saturday drive to a small hamburger joint that she said had the best hamburgers in town. I can remember when I used to walk into the nursing home that I could see faces that were vacant and faces that would light up. For a lot of people who were there and never visited by family, anybody’s family, any new face was a chance to rejoice, to communicate. GAN had her friends there and one would always let her know I had stopped to talk to the old folks I had gotten to know and who could communicate. When I would finally get to GAN’s room her face would always light up, and she would never want to sit and talk or go out into the common area and talk. She wanted to get out of that place as soon as possible. GAN’s whole demeanor would change once she was out and she would laugh and talk about the old days. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now. That couple of hours every Saturday meant so much to her and to a few other people in the nursing home. This lasted for only for awhile because GAN was moved to a nursing home closer to my aunts and uncles, which was far away from me. I never got to see her again because her health went down quite fast after the move and she was gone. I didn’t think it then, but I do now. I could have done more.

Some people probably wonder why I take care of Fmom now. Fmom has told me before that if I wasn’t here, she is sure she would be in a nursing home by now. Not because my siblings don’t love her, but because they have families and all work full time. This latest thing with Fmom fracturing her shoulder got me thinking of GAN. I know I could have done more for GAN and now that I have the chance, I want to know that I’m doing everything I can for Fmom. I don’t want to look back and think - I could have done more.

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