Those were the wise word of a very sweet, very cuddly Italian woman, who happened to be my Grandma. Grandma died in 1980. She was 96 years old. I remember her death like it was yesterday.
I was lying in my bed, the phone range around 2am. Our phone was in the hallway, there was a special little shelf for the phone. I could hear my dad cry, it was a scream and a sob. I could hear my mother saying “Oh John”. I knew Grandma was gone. Dad put on his clothes, I asked to go too but he told me to stay home.
Grandma lived 3 doors down from us, my Aunt lived with her. There was no “hospice” back then but there was a lady from the neighborhood that always sat with the dying. She was there and dad’s sisters. Even though she was 96 years old it hit my dad VERY hard. To this day dad still talks about his mom and how he can’t wait to see her again in heaven. When he was in the hospital a couple years ago that was all he talked about; the idiot doctor had him on morphine and he was talking outside his head. There was no way in hell Grandma was going to have another visitor. I had his meds changed.
I took Dad to see Grandma’s grave the other day. The cemetery isn’t far away but we’re not “cemetery” kind of people. I knew where it was though, I would drive down the road near by and would thinking of Grandma every time I went by. Dad was surprised I remembered where it was in the big cemetery, I mean it’s been almost 29 years ago. I found it though, big huge stone w/ Jesus. Kind of Resurrection type of a pose. There at the bottom were Felicia and Enrico. Grandpa died in 1947…I never knew either Grandpa. Dad got his cane out and I head him as he navigated the grass and dirt. We laughed at all the names, he felt like he was walking down one of our neighborhood streets; Rugerri, Columbo, Marlo, Berra.. “There’s Josie!, Oh look there’s Ceasar”.. Dad was very happy to see where Grandma was. More than likely that will be our last time there..unless he asks, of course I would take him back. It makes him so sad though.
Back to Grandma. I always remember her as very big..not fat just tall and big boned. Now though when I look at Dad and his too living sisters…I don’t think Grandma was that big, there is no way she could have been. Grandma started going back to speaking Italian only toward the end of her life, I used to tell her, “Grandma SPEAK ENGLISH”.. but she would shake her head at me…kinda like how dad does know when he doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s a disgusted look.
As a child Grandma used to tell me that I had “Porka Chopa Legs”…yes I always was a bit plump. Her favorite saint was St Rita. She was always saying prayers or the rosary while she looked out the front window. She didn’t care too much for TV except every Sunday morning she would watch Wrestling At The Chase. Dad and I would eat danishes with her and watch with her. It was very exciting.
Grandma always used to tell me. “DON’T GET OLD”… and she’d shake her head in disgust. She never complained but I’m sure she had many aches and pains.
Yesterday I took mom and dad to my cousin’s youngest daughter’s High School graduation party. Walkers..canes…all that good stuff. Well mom got stuck on the toilet..not really STUCK..but we went in the one nearest to where our table was and it wasn’t handicapped…and it was a low toilet.. There were the two of us in the stall. I couldn’t pull her from under her arms, she’s just too darn heavy..I wouldn’t let her use the toilet paper holder, she would have ripped that right off the wall…at one point she used my arm fat to try to pull herself up..and let me tell you that hurt like a bitch. Eventually she did a shimmy to the side and pressed up off the seat. I told her next time she’s to just go in her pants..I mean she wears a depends. She looked at me and I had to look away…the sadness in her eyes. She felt defeated, defeated by what her body has turned into..she is a sharp woman..pain in the ass but smart none the less. She reminds me constantly that SHE has a college degree. She told me, “Grandma was right you know, DON’T GET OLD”… I laughed, just like I did back when Grandma told me… I have a feeling though one of these days, God willing, I’ll be telling people the same thing.
I have a million meme’s to do..busy at work…gotta take Dad to the doctor this afternoon then we’re going to Sam’s club. OH..the bathroom now has plumbing that works… Now we need drywall, new floor, new kitchen plumbing… and that should be July. Anyone have an extra 10 grand?