Still chugging along

Submitted by Zombieman on Mon, 03/09/2020 - 21:01

I posted a couple more chapters to Shiners starting with Chapter 26.

It is that time of year for game conventions, sort of a welcome time, but this year it feels off. Not sure if it's the raging virii trying to destroy humanity or just my general mood. Meh, who am I kidding? It's my mood.  My maternal grandmother died about a week ago. She was doing really well, eh, why do we say that? "She was doing really well" when what I really mean is, "She was fine, then she died." If I keeled over from a heart attack in a week, no one is going to say, "Poor Mark, died of a heart attack at 50, he was doing really well..." I suppose it is an ageism thing, being 90 is like, a disease or illness, except no one recovers from being 90.  I wasn't super close to my grandmother, I have some great memories of her and, frankly, also some of the worst memories I carry with me, where she was there, involved, but we were caught up in things that left an impression that survives hazily to this day. 

My feeling is she had a hard life. I know she had her struggles late, no public airing of shit, you know me better than that and this is FAMILY business, not for general consumption. She got divorced late, at a time when most people are contemplating retirement and divorce for middle to low income people is a giant 'Go back to Go!' button in terms of wealth and socializing. After the divorce I moved far away west, all the way to the 1880's in Colorado with cowboys and miners and such. I rarely saw her after that, or any of my extended family. It was a smart move though, financially, for my parents and sibling. My paternal grandmother is still 'doing well' at 98, feisty and sharp. Again, though, 'doing well' means giving up her driver's license due to going blind. Can you imagine that shit?

Me: "Yes! I've made it to 90 years old"

Life: "You need a new challenge to keep you busy! How about blindness?"

Me: "Ah..."

Life: "How about a side of deafness and incontinence as well?"

Me: "Fuck."

Having to learn to navigate the world without the use of your eyes would be challenging enough, doing so when you've been worn down to a nub by 9 decades seems unduly challenging. She's good though, very peppy. However, I've lost focus on the maternal grandmother who is no longer with us.

Poor, that's one way to describe her wealth. The state provided little, her pension gave her a tad more and the bills from hospitals and doctor's were amazing. Especially the ones bill for appointments she never made or attended!  That came out after she moved last summer and still got bills and 'collectors' calling for services rendered after she was living two states away. I mean, so she was being driven 400 miles to the doctor's office? Hah! My mother took over fending off those people and my hearing about these battles really colors my opinion that there is a certain portion of the economy that lives off of fraudulent medical billing. So, she was poor, that's no crime, just hard. 

She was always as kind as she could afford to be to me and when I last visited with her I took meticulous notes while talking to her, mostly about family history, things I had questions about. I stayed away from the traumatic events, let sleeping dogs lay. Nothing said was too enlightening, nor interesting to anyone other than, say, me. Still, I do find myself wishing I had made time for more of such conversations.  This exposes the general hypocrisy that I live under too. My grandmother died. My parents are alive, most of my aunts and uncles are still around, have I changed my schedule to go visit them so I don't feel the same when they pass? Nah, bro, I'm good. Seeing the 'big T', {T}ruth can be challenging to accept. 

My grandmother moved in with my aunt and not too long ago my Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, not the kind you recover from. I suspect this played a part in my grandmother's turn for the worse; she didn't want to have to watch another of her daughters die from it.  See? Kind of a hard life. I'm not saying you get a full pass from society if you bury one of your kids, but damn, you do with me. I could not imagine dealing with that level of tragedy. 

My grandmother donated her body to science, she had that written down, and even notarized, as what she wanted done with her mortal remains. Unfortunately she didn't actually contact anyone about arranging this and that meant money. Money to pay for holding her body, money used to arrange transportation to the school. Money that, ironically, my grandmother had since getting out of the corrupt medical billing situation that she had been in up until last year. So there is no financial blow back on my mother or other family members. Grandma took care of it, another service she did, even if it was done in a round about way.  I think there are worse things one could aim for in life.