23 November 2007

Day 23

Back to the NaBloPoMo saga...

So Olga marries Pete. Twelve years later (um, fertility problems you think? Remember they were Catholic...) out comes their first child, my mom, at a teeny 5lbs. Two years later Pete is dead and there were no other siblings. Fast forward to 1986 - grandma has had a massive heart attack, quadruple bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, and she's still living alone in her duplex in Detroit. Mom and dad decided it's time to move her in with us. Thankfully, she brings some money to the house hunt and we're able to move from our tiny little ghetto neighborhood in semi-urban NJ to a nice new suburban development with lots of kids our age across the Delaware river in PA. Since it was a new build, it was cheaper to have them make alterations as they built than to buy something older and hire contractors. The one thing mom regrets: Putting bi-fold doors separating our space from grandmas instead of a wall.

It was a joy living with grandma. Oh the stories I could tell. She was manipulative, excellent at laying on the guilt with a trowel, and oh, did I mention the kicker? She loved my brother more than me and wasn't afraid to make this known. I could go on and on about the things she did, but I wont. I've already burdened my poor therapist with those stories. No need to torture the 2.4 people who read this site.

On the flip side, she was a model of healthy behavior. When she moved in with us, I think mom and dad only planned for her to be here for a few years. She lasted 11. Way longer than her cardiologist expected. Another fun thing in my family, and this goes for both sides, is that everyone has gotten type II diabetes in their old age. Grandma, however, was meticulous about her diet and kept it totally under control and was on minimal medication for it. As for her heart health, she walked every day, even if it was fridgid out, she'd do laps around her living room. She walked so much around our neighborhood that everyone knew her for blocks in all directions. Her heart was so weak, in later years she would have these "episodes," spend two days in the hospital for observation, and than come home. Turns out these were little heart attacks, little because she didn't have any big chunks left to die off in her heart, only little bits.

The last little bit went out on her Thanksgiving morning (who knew the timing of these posts would be so spot on?), 11 years ago. I don't know the date she died, but when you die at home on a holiday morning, that's the day people are going to remember you died. She went peacefully, in her room, with family cooking away in the kitchen and the dog snooping around. The coroner had to come to assert that it was a natural death (When the paramedics saw her shoebox of medications they were pretty sure there would be no issues), the whole neighborhood was out to watch them take her away and offer condolences, the pastor came over, mom was a wreck so I ended up doing most of the cooking in order to keep busy. However, the turkey ended up being freezer burned. We all had a good laugh at the end of a long day over how nasty it tasty, grandpa (dad's dad) thought it was fine and ate most of it, which made us laugh even more. The next few years we went out to eat for thanksgiving. Not to bad as you still get leftovers and no one has to do dishes!


Mac's niece said...

Have you thought about casting actors to play all the members of your family in an epic movie? It could be fun!

I have posted your surprise package to you today... hope you get it soon, and enjoy it.

Katie said...

thanks nichole! you rock! i hope to get yours in the mail this week :)