Gladys and Blaine


If there's one spot-on impersonation I can do, it is of my step-grandpa Blaine saying hello to my parents' dog. He'd come into the house wearing his red cardigan (at Christmas, at least) and say, "Hello Goldie!", and Goldie would bark at him, every single time. I can't remember once that he came over and she Didn't bark, and she wasn't one of those barky dogs. It was kind of a family joke, her barking at him. Goldie and Blaine both died several years ago (not at the same time; that would be creepy), and when Blaine died, his wife Gladys changed.

Gladys is also a step grandparent, which is kind of weird in a way--two step-grandparents, married to each other. They are both step-grandparents because Blaine married my dad's mom (after his dad left them), and when my dad's mom died (young, of ovarian cancer) Blaine married Gladys. Blaine had adopted my dad, so I guess really he was no longer a step, but I didn't see him much and never thought of him as a real grandparent, just because he didn't show the doting interest of a grandparent. I'm not upset or resentful of that, at all--I'm just stating a fact.

When I was a kid and Blaine and Gladys would come over (bark bark bark), they were active and they golfed and were always up for a cocktail or some champagne. Gladys laughed often and loudly, and said, "Oh Gawd!" a lot. This was the person I knew her as before Blaine died, and she broke her hip, and had a small stroke. The person I know her as now is a tiny frail woman who talks barely loud enough to hear, who uses a walker, and who is afraid of a illness and death. This last thing has been the worst of it, because she has never really recovered from the broken hip or the stroke, and she has had a lot of problems related to both things.

I'm thinking and talking about this now because my mom emailed today to say Gladys is in the hospital and is failing. She had another fall (she has been living in an assisted living place) and also recently had an operation to restore circulation to her feet (it had been a problem) and has had complications with that. The complications combined with the fall, combined with her age (94) are too much and her doctors say she is going to die. They don't know how long she has left, but probably not long.

This presents a sad quandry, because I don't know what to hope for. On the one hand, I don't want her to die, because though I cannot say we have a close relationship, or really Any relationship, it is sad to think of losing her and losing the opportunity of ever getting to know her. But on the other hand, she's been pretty miserable for the past couple of years and her life consists of being unhappy and worrying and freaking out at the smallest thing. To hope she recovers is to hope that she is miserable and stressed and worried for an additional indefinate period of time, but to hope she doesn't recover is to hope that she dies, and I can't hope for that. So I just don't know.

The Boy got his green belt in Tae Kwon Do today, and while it may seem odd to stick this into an entry about my step-grandma Gladys and her failing health, this is life. One person is dying and another person gets a green belt. It makes no sense, but that's how things are. Joys and sorrows all mixed up together; salty and sweet. I wish I could go back in time tonight, for just a little while, to hear the dog bark at Blaine and to see Gladys being boisterous and saying, "Oh Gawd!", and even to eat her green jello with pineapple and nuts and whipped cream thing that she presented as a vegetable on special occasions. Because these memories from childhood are too fuzzy, and that's the way I'd prefer to remember Gladys, when she dies; not as the quiet timid frail person she is now. If this is her time to die I hope she will be able to face it without fear and step forward into the unknown. I don't know what there is after this life, if anything, but I hope there's something, because I'd like Gladys to see Blaine again, and have a round of golf and some bridge with her friends who died before her. I think Gladys would approve of that kind of afterlife, especially if there was champagne


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come over some time & see me - 2011-02-25
let's not say goodbye - 2011-02-23
the Rachel Zoe collection - 2011-02-10
I feel happy today - 2011-02-04
the tiny snow stalker - 2011-01-25

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