Thursday, January 1, 2009


I saw my grandmother over the holidays. She's 98 now, doesn't look over 80. That's pretty amazing. There are a lot of people in her home who are a lot younger than her, and few of them are as mobile.

I brought her some fabric. Every few months, when she makes her way to the bottom of a bin of the fabrics people give her, she swears off sewing, says she's had enough. I can certainly see that the appeal could wear off when it's all you do apart from eat and sleep. Her eyes are getting very bad besides, and it's pretty difficult to sew on a machine when you can't see much.

She was showing me some of the trickery she uses to get around that. Threading the needle is a bit of a challenge for most of us, and she's doing it more or less blind. So here's what she does - puts a white scrap of fabric under the feed-dogs, blackens the end of the thread (about the last six inches) with a marker, and then coats it with clear nail polish to stiffen it. In a couple minutes she can poke it through the needle's eye and keep sewing again. I can't imagine how she wrestles the bobbin thread. She's always been a very resourceful lady. Her quilts and assorted whatnots are an eyesore, but she sends them off to Africa where it doesn't seem to matter as much. And it probably doesn't, really. I'm over-fussy.

But she gets tired of it. She gets tired of everything. She's ninety-eight. Imagine if all your age-peers had already been dead for fifteen years. Imagine if you couldn't hear any conversations, couldn't see well enough to read, or sew, or whatever.... imagine that.

My new-year's wish for my grandmother is that the Angel of Death will finally remember her and take her away to wherever she's headed. Who knows? It may even be the Mennonite heaven she's been waiting for. Wherever it is, I hope she gets there soon.


CG said...

I think about aging, and aging gracefully, a lot. I notice things our elders do (or have done) to us and swear that these will not be the things I do as I age. But who knows. Suddenly (and already) the print on a whole gamut of things has gotten so small I can't read it. And the other day I did threaten a daughter with doing to her all the odd things our elders have done to us if she didn't BEHAVE.

But I also think death is not a thing to be rushed. Which is one reason (of many) that I object to putting animals down.

Anyhoooo, this really goes on a different post, but I was glad to see the greenhouse. I've wondered so much how the move went, how the land is, that sort of stuff that is near and dear to my heart.

Madcap said...

I think about getting old a lot too, in the midst of doing it. The whole idea of not being able to be in control of my own self and my own life gives me the horrors... that and the "well-meaning" types that like to take over at that point. I guess I'll jump those hoops when I get to them. Grace-fully is a good word, to be full of grace. I hope I can have some measure of that someday.

Oh the move! I think that'll be several posts in itself!

Happy New Year, CG. Thanks for your friendship.


Kind of a sad (as in melancholy) post, my friend. “To everything there is a season…” I suppose. I can understand your sentiment and, yet, it makes me sad.

Jim said...

Granny, the elder, may be crabby and tired of everything, but she's still here to teach us young whippersnappers how to thread a needle when we've gone blind, and to warn us of what might be coming, if we're lucky enough to make 98.

I'm not sure what kind of luck that is, but, if by some miracle, I do reach that realm of the living ancient, I might not mind the fact that I could no longer hear the frivolous drama going on with the youngsters around me.

Besides, as resourceful and mobile as granny is, if she were that miserable, she probably would've left us by now.

As my aches & pains & complaints grow more discomforting with age I hope I can learn the rare art of silent suffering, or at least how to bitch gracefully!

Madcap said...

Constantine - It is sad. She's so frustrated and isolated. I guess that's the season that it is, and maybe if/when I get there, it'll have lessons for me, but I can't help wishing her freedom from it.

Jim - Why suffer alone? Isn't sharing a community-building experience? ;-)

I haven't forgotten about that recipe, you know. I'm just a little frizzled and disorganized. Soon. No, really!

小貓咪 said...