The Truth is What is Useful, Part 37
My grandmother, Joy, is 93 ⅔. (I think when you pass 90 your age should be calculated like when you are under the age of ten.) She is sometimes lucid, and will tell you detailed stories about things that happened a very long time ago, and sometimes she does not know exactly who I am.
This time of her life is teaching me more than a lot. It’s reminding me not to take things personally, for example. Her lucid self would be mortified if she knew that her vacant self did not know me. I know without a shadow of doubt that she loves me as much as she loves her own skin, because she has told me all of her life I will never know how much she loves me. But I know, because that unquantifiable amount of love is what I have for her.
She is also teaching me to be present, and quick on my feet. The other day I called her hospital room to check on her, and she thought I was calling for her lunch order. So I asked her what she would like and took her order, then my mom had it delivered to her. She does not know that she mistook me for the food staff, and I would never tell her.
Today she was “watching” the television channel with a still image of the mountains and a lake, and listening to the nature sounds, and staring off into space trying to figure out how to order oatmeal. “They have the prettiest scenery on here,” she said.
She tells us her work is not finished yet, because our family is not a Norman Rockwell family. I swear, I wish he never painted that picture of the happy Thanksgiving family that she keeps thinking we need to match up to. The truth is, one of her kids lives really far away, and the other, my mother, lives with her, and none of us has a close relationship with the other because hurt people hurt people, and sometimes that is a hard fact to get past.
BUT, we do have something in common, other than we came from the same genetic soup. We love her. So much. One of my teachers told me years ago, “The truth is what is useful.” That single sentence has helped me get out of a lot of mental pickles.
This Sunday, my Uncle will be in town, and we are all going to visit Grandmother and eat sweets, and we will be the Norman Rockwell family for the afternoon. It will be a most useful truth, for her to see that all is not lost. She can look on her progeny and know that all is well.