Borderline Retarded

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Grandma Caroline

My Grandma Caroline is not doing so well these days.

Just less than a year ago, Gran was in the hospital with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. She can no longer live by herself, and has been at a care home in Davis. It is a beautiful home, and they give her the best possible care.

Gran has suffered from Rheumatoid and Osteo arthritis since she was 26 years old. Her hands are crippled severely, yet somehow she manages to make small tasks like spreading butter on toast seem elegant. She also managed to raise 6 children all born within 1 to 2 years of each other, much of it on her own as my Grandpa Art was in the Air Force and traveled frequently.

On Friday, she was admitted into the hospital because of severe swelling in her legs which was not going away. On Monday, she was actually on her way home when she became short of breath, lost counciousness and stopped breathing. My parents turned her right back around to the hospital. The doctor has determined that her heart rate dipped dangerously low. (My Uncle Mike says it was my Mom's driving, however he does not have a medical degree!).They have taken her off of the three heart medications she was on, and her heart rate is now in a more normal range of 50 - 60 beats per minute. Her heart rate had dipped to 30 beats per minute on Tuesday morning.

I drove to the hospital in Sacramento with the baby to visit her on Tuesday morning. I got to spend some time with my Uncle Clay and my Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike actually flew in from Colorado to see Gran, thinking this might be the last time he has a chance to be with her. She was so happy to see the baby. I layed him down on the hospital bed so she could stroke his chubby cheeks and hold his tiny hands. She couldn't quite remember what his name was, but she has a little bit more trouble than usual holding on to information. I can't say anything - it would be the pot calling the kettle black!

Grandma Caroline truly is the matriarch of our family. She has 6 children, 6 sons and daughters in laws, 13 grandchildren, 6 grandchildren in law, and 13 great grandchildren. That makes for quite a table full! Grandma came from a family of 12 children herself. Half of the kids were born on the east coast, and the other half were born in Fresno, CA. I am third generation California girl! My great-grandfather sold milk, and during the Prohibition made his own beer. He had the kids clean out the beer barrels, and every tenth batch he would brew up some root beer for the kids as payment. My gret-grandmother was apparently a baby factory. My Gran says that the older girls would take on the new babies as their charge. Her oldest sister Ruth was in charge of my Gran when she was little. My great-grandmother was still having children when her oldest kids got married and had children of their own. Grandma has nieces and nephews who are older than she is. The whole clan gathers in Fresno every summer for a family reunion. You can tell our group by the vast number of red heads running around!

My grandmother has some wonderful and amazing stories to share. I have spent many hours with her just talking. I find myself almost in a panic now, wondering how I'm going to remember all of these events which happened to her over the past 83 years. I am glad to be on maternity leave right now, hopefully I can spend as much time with her as possible before I go back to work.

My great-aunt told me once that I was my Grandmother's favorite. I was probably about 6 years old when she shared that with me. I remember telling my mother and she got very upset. She didn't want me to think that Grandma had any favorites, she loved us all the same. That made sense to me, and I let it go as just a friendly comment made by someone who was probably just trying to be nice. However, I have two of the 4 great grandchildren who are born in wedlock - and I know that counts for something!

I will be posting the stories that I can remember as they come back to me a bit. I know of no better way to honor her than to remember those things which are important to her.

4 Comments:

  • *sob* (wipes eye) that was beautiful.

    I hope she's okay. I wish i could write something as nice about my grandma, but really, NO ONE knew her. The first thing she said to my mother when my sister (the eldest grandchild) was born was "don't think we're going to be babysitting". Sadly she's passed on now, so I'll never get to know her properly.

    My Nan tho, my Nan... i could write so much about her just like you.

    It's nice to be able to, isn't it? I hope one day someone will say something just as nice about me. :D

    By Blogger Squishi, at 4:35 AM  

  • Very well said. That was a beautiful post - Gran is as lucky to have grandkids such as yourself as you are to have a granmother like her.

    By Blogger KOM, at 3:28 PM  

  • That was such a sweet post. You do your grandmother justice by writing such wonderful things about her. Things that your kids will be able to read in the future. In that way, they will be able to know their Great Grandmother even better.

    By Blogger Reese The Law Girl, at 10:23 AM  

  • That was beautiful.

    By Blogger Elle Marie, at 1:50 PM  

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