I have been so blessed in my life to have the lady in the picture as my Grandmother. Here she is shown with my Dad as a newborn, she was 19. If ever there was a "perfect" grandmother, she is it. All my life she has been there for me. Grandmother lived about 2 1/2 hours away from me when I was growing up in the 1960's-1970's, so I only got to see her on weekends, until school was out. And then I would go "up in the country" and stay with her and my grandfather for two weeks! If every child in the world could have spent two weeks "up in the country" with my grandparents, this world would be a much better place!
To get to her house you had to either drive your car across the creek, if it was low enough, or walk through a narrow path on the side of a hill to get to the swinging bridge. I vividly remember my grandfather carrying me in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other and crossing that bridge that was probably 2 stories high and two planks wide. The original house was built in 1796 and was made of logs. The kitchen was the original part of the house and it was very large, and you entered the attic from a set of very narrow curved steps in the kitchen. Up in the attic you could see the original logs. I loved the kitchen! Grandmother cooked on a mint green and white Tennessee Brand wood cook stove. Every morning Granddad would build the fire in the stove on his way out to feed the livestock. I would always listen so I could be up with him so I could find the eggs.( even though I hated the chickens, they would peck my toes) When we came back in, Grandmother would have already made breakfast. Granddad and I would sit out on the back porch and talk of "mice and men" before he would go to work as a prison guard at the prison that adjoined their farm.
Then Grandmother and I would straighten the house a little, then head out to the garden to pick fresh vegetables or weed or whatever needed doing in the garden. Grandmother passed her love of gardening and being outside to me. It has to be really cold, for me not to go outside every day and do some kind of gardening.
We would walk down beside the creek and either swim in the "deep hole" or go fishing. We would always catch fish they called "red eyes". I'm not sure what exactly they were, but we would have them for dinner! The bad thing about swimming in the creek were the leeches. But we would just pick them off, like it was nothing! Wouldn't kids today freak out!
I never had many toys at my Grandmothers house. I played with old dishes that Grandmother would give me and I would sit under the tree and play "restaurant" all day long. My Granddad made me a swing in the tree as well. Once when their chuch replaced their pews, Granddad brought two of the old ones home and made a wooden sliding board from them!
But what I loved to do the most was play with my paper dolls. These were not the kind you bought and cut out, these were cut out of the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs. My Grandmother and I would sit for hours cutting out dolls and furniture for their houses (made out of shoe boxes). I could hardly wait for the new catalogs to come in the mail, because that meant I got the old one!
As you can tell with this epic length post, my Grandmother played a huge role in my life. When my mother died when I was 16, my Grandmother would call and check on us at least a couple times a week, and would come down to our house every other weekend. When my Granddad died 17 years ago, she moved out of the old house and moved to our town so that we could all be together and watch out for each other.
My Grandmother is now 96 years old and until a month ago, lived in her neat little ranch style house that had the prettiest yard and flowers on her street. Then she fell and broke her hip. The doctors did a complete hip replacement because she was very healthy and felt she would recover. But she hasn't. A blood clot has formed in her lungs and they have been working all week trying to get it to dissolve. She is having some trouble breathing. But the worst part is that she now has dementia. She doesn't always know who we are. She can't remember where she is. The images in her mind torment her.
She has never been a very large woman. She is only 5' tall and has weighed at the most 105 lbs.
Now she is so tiny. She will not eat. They are feeding her through her veins.
This is heartbreaking for me. She has always been my crutch. I go to the hospital every day and see her getting further away from reality. She is tired, she is tired of fighting. I hope that now, I am being a crutch for her.