Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blogging on Paper

When my grandfather died in 2001, my grandmother's doctor told her to keep a diary. She was a physical and emotional wreck. Not really because of the loss of my grandfather, but more because of the fact that he took care of her. On the day of his funeral her concern was "Who was going to drive me to the doctor?"

I had forgotten that (for reasons unknown) she gave me this diary when they were here in March. Was it to garner pity? A show of widowed solidarity? I don't know. What I do know is that the entries struck me as odd. In 98 entries, mostly focused on what she ate, who had called or written, who was tops on her list for doing so, what her most recent medical complaint was, she only mentioned my grandfather once. On her birthday. Not his. Amazing to me. Yes, we all grieve in different ways...but it was a window into who my grandmother is. To me, almost an unfinished painting. One who has yet to see outside of herself, and, at the age of 85, probably never will. It is funny that I found myself wanting to hit the comment button after every post. I wish that we could discuss these entries in some way. That I could ask her what she learned from the process (that she has since given up).

While I did find myself feeling sad (or pity at least) for her on some occasions, I found myself mostly disbelieving-for, on the day of her daughter's (my aunt) death she again asked the question, "Who will take care of me?" Heartbreaking in that you never really know much about a person until you really read their words I guess.

12 comments:

Deb a.k.a.The Invisible Blogger.... said...

Your Grandmother sounds very much like my Mother. When we learned that my Father was dying and were discussing how to make his last remaining time comfortable, my Mother exclaimed "I'm dying too!".
Everything was about her, It seems some people can only focus on themselves when crisis occurs. While I tried to understand that this might be the only way she could deal with what was happening, it was hard to hear what appeared to be selfish or thoughtless remarks. Perhaps your Grandmother could not bring herself to write how she felt about your grandfather? Along with all the fear of losing someone there is usually some anger too. I know my Mother was angry, angry that he was dying, leaving her alone, and the feeling of being left behind must have been overwhelming at times. Yet she never admitted it to us.

Marshamlow said...

I think having read of your encounters with your Grandmother before that this is an accurate discription of who she has been her whole life. I wonder if something happened to her as a child or during her developement for her to only see the world as it effects her. I wonder if this is something we are taught? To see past ourselves? It seems uncommon for a person to be so self involved, but I wonder about others from her generation was this a common occurance?

Courtney said...

I just don't get how someone could be like that. I CAN, however understand being angry at someone (whether their death could be prevented or not) for leaving you, but to just ask who would take her to the doctor? To me, it seems (from your post, of course, I didn't read the whole entry so I could be way off the mark here) that she never really dealt with the emotions of grief, she just focused on herself. Never mentioning your grandfather, but once is a little "off" to me, but as you said, everyone grieves differently.

Rach said...

That was her reaction to her daughter's death? Really???

Wow. I'm left rather speechless. :o( What a sad and miserable person your grandma must be. I had gathered that from previous posts, but this just cemented it for me.

BetteJo said...

I think one of the most telling things is the fact that she gave you the diary without realizing for a second how it portrayed her. Amazing, really. And sad.

Fragrant Liar said...

Some people really cannot write down their innermost thoughts, and it's much easier and less painful to write on a superficial level. So while Grandma may be somewhat self-centered, she may also be keeping what she really thinks and feels locked deep inside herself. Maybe this is your opportunity to find out by asking her about the events in her life -- without the diary as a basis for the questions.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

It's possible that she was unable to deal with the stronger emotions, that trying to figure out how she was going to get through the days and weeks ahead was the most she could manage.

It's also possible that this is a glimpse into her true self. My bloodsucking evil cousin once said, to my Grandma, "Who will take care of me when you die?" I know that's exactly how she thinks. About who will pay her rent if she doesn't have enough money. Who will buy her children gifts for Christmas when she blows her money on expensive purses for herself, etc. Some people are just like that, and it's mighty confusing if you happen to be related to them. If no one else in the family is that way, especially.

Karen MEG said...

People certainly do grieve in different ways, but it does sound like she's fairly self-centred; my grandmother was like that, actually, it was all about her, her, her... I did love her, but this was one of the reasons that her kids could only take so much of living with her, they had to take their turns on rotation!

Yup, Grandma was quite the battleaxe up to her death at 83.

I'm glad that James recovered from that nasty bite, that must have been so scary. And I do hope you're still settling in well and that your other house sells soon...

Cherry said...

I wonder if you'll be able to ask her why she gave you her journal and if you'll get a true answer. I love that you wanted to comment. My how the world of the blogesphere has become so second nature.

When I have gone through hard times and I have tried to journal or blog through them, I sometimes write a ton and sometimes I can't get out much more than what I ate for lunch. But 98 entries of the same thing....

You, my dear, are so not your Grandmother!

becomingkate said...

I think that the answer might be that journalling is about one's self. Everything I have written since the time of my husband's death, has been about how I have dealt with the loss. How lonely I was, how I longed to speak to him again, or hold him.
Underneath all that was the sadness that he had to suffer, how relieved I was that he had peace...but I'm sure I have written more about me, than of him.
Maybe your Grandma just wasn't good at expressing things past what she felt, how she was effected.

KamaAina said...

Aloha! I haven't forgotten you. Not at all. Rather, the stupid firewall at work thinks your blog is about the occult, because of the title, and blocks it! Meanwhile, my dial-up at home is so slow I can hardly get on any blogs. Now Mom is visiting, and there's broadband here at the hotel.

"you never really know much about a person until you really read their words I guess." In that case, it's time I went back and really read your words, I guess.

Kathy said...

Thinking about you and wondering how you and James are doing.
Peace