martedì, settembre 25, 2012

100 years of attitude

Granny died last night. 100 years and three hours old. She's having a small funeral day after tomorrow, because everybody showed up for her birthday party, and what with so many of these people being so geriatric, you can't expect them to make more than one outing a week.

I'm left feeling - gosh. Sad, yes. But also not. We didn't get on that well when she was herself, as long-term readers may have gleaned. Our moment of tenderest complicity that I can recall was this. And my greatest psychological fear for myself is that I'm too much like her - that one day I'll be dying at 100 years and three hours old, with loving children around me, friends who still showed up for my birthday, one of the nicest sorts of lives you can imagine behind me in qualitative terms, and still have spent the last 60 odd years utterly miserable and victimized-feeling. Agro-depressive, in other words. I was chatting with my Chinese medicine doctor, who's also a good friend of ours, about it, after my aunt called to tell me Granny was on the way out. He asked if she had the tendency to conserve her resources through her depression and I answered, honestly and without guilt, that if he meant emotional vampirism the answer was probably yes.

There were things I would have liked to have out with her, but by the time, say, eight years ago (to be charitable to myself) that I had the psychological maturity to have had them out with her, it was too late; she had reached a point of dependency that would have made it intolerably cruel. My aunt did have it out with her, years and years and years ago, when Granny was still capable of a good fight, and my aunt had the best, so far as it goes, relationship with her after that. This is part of why my main bad feeling at the moment is worry about my mother, who also missed her window to have it out with Granny, and who had a helluvalot more things to have out with her. But when I talked to her now, I felt reassured. Now that Granny's gone - now that this woman who she'd never been able to confront properly is no longer a dependent, physical presence who she'll never be able to have it out with - she looks like she's doing a little better. So I'm not sad.

But I am sad, because I loved Granny. There you are. A lot of people did, whether she wanted or encouraged them to or not. She made two lovely daughters, who in turn made two lovely happy families, with decent kids and contented husbands, and who had careers that made the community much better instead of worse. She made grandchildren who, whatever our faults, are the sort of people who loved their grandmother even if their grandmother wasn't particularly lovable, and that's something in this naughty world. It doesn't matter in the end that she was the way she was because depression is an "illness" or because of the difficult circumstances of her own early life - it doesn't matter that she had excuses. We were all still hurt. And also we all still loved her, and we wouldn't be here without her.

I wish, though, she had been born my friend instead of my grandmother. It's only when I realized that I processed her being gone and had my cry. We both would have made a better hash of things that way. There were a few things she said to me after she lost her marbles that make me think she would have preferred it too. Another life, Granny.

2 commenti:

Baywatch ha detto...

My condolences. A century is quite a stretch.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I'm sure it felt like longer to her, the poor woman.