This Saturday my mother's entire extended family will meet on Aunt Bev's patio for the annual celebration of our beloved Grandma Andy's birthday. It's guaranteed to be an evening of great food, catching up, and lots of laughter.
Unfortunately, the guest of honor wishes she didn't have to come.
It's not because she doesn't like the forced attention of a party, though I'm sure that's an honor she'd rather do without.
The fact is Granny is sick of living.
Can you blame the lady? She has outlived a son, a husband, her siblings and parents, and most of her friends. Since having hip replacement surgery 2 years ago her quality of life has gone way down. She rarely leaves the house except for short trips to the grocery store, her Friday 'do appointment at the salon, and church on Sunday.
Two weeks ago she passed out while making herself breakfast. Fortunately she was revived quickly and was able to scoot herself over to the phone to call my mom (she has a cell phone but never keeps it with her!!!!). My sister Fancy ran to Granny's house and found her pale as a ghost, lying on the floor, with charred pancakes on the stove and the whole house full of smoke and the fire alarms blaring. It scared Fancy to death. By the time I got to the house an hour later the smoke was gone but the entire place smelled like a camp fire. Granny was obviously hurting but she refused to allow my parents to call an ambulance or be taken to see a doctor. She didn't leave the house again for a week.
As Granny always says, "Getting old is the pits". Granny has aged so much in the last 5 years. After spending 70+ years untouched by the ravages of time, the years finally caught up with her, and she is tired body, mind and soul. It's hard to reprimand her when she says, as she did last week when my mom and I went to fill a prescription for her, "Dang doctors and their pills. All they want to do is keep you alive" (only she didn't say "dang" but that other curse word that starts with a D. I've mentioned it before, but Granny's developed quite a potty mouth lately. My mom told her she'd used up her swear word quota for the week). She increasingly talks about "wishing she could just die". Before we could laugh it off as "silly Grandma", but I don't think she's joking at all anymore.
Grandma has worked hard her entire life. She deserves peace and rest, and to be free of the pains that torment her physically. But selfishly, I want her here for years to come; I think every one of her children and grandchildren feel the same way. We've always joked with her that she needs to live to 100, but now seeing how badly she hurts and how much she misses her loved ones long gone, I can honestly say that I wouldn't wish that on her in a million years.
So happy 86th birthday Grandma Andy. I hope we are able to celebrate #87 with you next year but if not, that's okay. I'm sure you and grandpa will be celebrating anyway.