My grandmother is dying, again. It’s something she does sometimes, almost dies but doesn’t. She’s been at it for nearly ten years. If she was a normal grandma and we had a normal relatirelationship, I’d probably be sad. Instead I’m holding my breath.
Waiting. Waiting to see if this dying takes, or if we’ve got another decade to go. Waiting to see if this is the time I can truly shake off the last shackle binding me to her. Waiting to have feelings about it all.
I do love my grandmother. She abused me and she killed people, but I do. She was my primary maternal figure, both violent and fun. My best and worst childhood memories center around her, orbiting her as we all did. It feels perverse to love her, disrespectful to the dead.
The woman she is now can’t remember tossing me into the backyard swimming pool as I squealed in rapture, can’t remember striking and killing a pedestrian with her car, can’t remember soothing me after nightmares, can’t remember all the lives her carelessness lost. It’s hard to think of her as even being my grandma.
I’m waiting to know if this is time for the overpowering and ruinous emotions I expect to have when the woman I literally worshipped eventually dies. My coldness now is simply so I won’t have to be overwhelmed by grief and love for her more than once. Once is all I can take.