Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Super Omi Turned 80 Today
My grandmother has had alzeimer's since before my kids were born. When my husband and I were dating, she was already starting to forget and repeat things. She used to flirt with the security guards in her building. She cooked for me all the time. She made liver and bacon, homemade schnitzel and spätzle, rouladen. She always made you eat too much, never taking no for an answer. She told everyone I was her favourite granddaughter, and bragged that I "sang like an angel", even though I only ever sang along to the radio. She cheated at rummikube. We would laugh together, talk about music, and men, and the world. She would give me a quarter if I got a question right on jeopardy before the contestants did. I was her smart cookie.
Omi has always loved kids, so my Mom thought that she might respond if I brought my kids in to see their great grandmother. It wasn't a party, nor even a celebration, only an attempt at giving Super Omi one last happy moment. We stopped at Tim Horton's on the way and bought timbits for us and a yogurt for Omi. Mom entered the combination to unlock the door and we saw her sitting in the hall. She was sleeping in what my Mom calls her lazy-boy wheelchair. Her body looked thin and slumped, her skin pale. Her grey hair was combed straight. Her bare feet were wrapped in white pillow-type things. Her toenails were yellow. She opened her eyes briefly, but didn't really look at any of us. We wheeled her into the small courtyard and sang her happy birthday.
We ate timbits and played catch with a football we brought with us. At one moment, a woman walked across the courtyard, ripped a vine out of the garden and dragged it inside, leaving a trail of dirt on the floor. We chatted with William about life and death and what Super Omi used to be like, then we left her and went to the waterfront and enjoyed the splashpad. In the end we had a pretty nice day.