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Author Topic: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)  (Read 1604 times)

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Offline DanielMark

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Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« on: October 18, 2006, 05:05:58 PM »
October 14 2006



This is the only photo I have of my paternal grandmother Ivy Anne, who was the last of my surviving grandparents. It shows her with her family when they still lived in England before emigrating to Canada in the early 1900s.  After suffering through the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease for the past few years, I just found out from my mother that she died this morning in the nursing home where she was living

The last time I saw her was with Ken about two years ago. She was then already on the decline from Alzheimer’s with mental confusion and other health problems. She thought I was my father. I left her a framed photo of myself, which I later found out a nurse had kept beside her bed. Recently she had refused to even eat.

My grandmother did not have an easy life before or after her husband died in the 1950s. He was, I’ve heard, a dreaded man. If I grieve, I think it will be with regret for not having the closeness one thinks of having with their grandparents or parents, and for all the could-have-beens that never will be. I know that sounds horrible  and selfish but such is the source of the confusion I’m feeling. I also feel bad that she lived what must have been a very lonely inner life.

Although I cared about her as a relation, we never were close and I can’t say that while growing up I ever felt loving feelings toward her. Maybe because she wasn’t a very matronly grandmother, and was often angry and quick-tempered, a trait she (unfortunately) passed on to her children: ie my father and his sisters. When I was a child, she seldom came to visit us, nor us her, even though she lived only 2 miles away.

Anyway, her long suffering is now over, and I thank God for that much.

Grandma Ivy was 95 years old.



October 15 2006

I was beginning to feel rather depressed dwelling on the past yesterday but watched an old feel good movie (Baby Boom with Diane Keaton) and got off that lethal thinking spiral. Sometimes just shifting the mind's focus helps me greatly. I also discussed things with several close friends and my boyfriend which helped me get a better perspective on things.

I found a couple of pieces of writing from years ago having to do with my Grandmother Ivy, so I'll post them. They obviously need revising, but the atmosphere comes through I think.

*

Granny's house was tidy, simply furnished, spotlessly clean, plain and normal as any house could appear. The exterior was ribbed asbestos shingle painted white. The driveway, coarse black cinders sharp as crushed glass under a child's bare feet. It crunched under rolling car tires, and sparkled on sunny days.

In the basement was a coal bin for storing fuel for the furnace, and a two-foot-square watery abyss with a sump pump in the concrete floor. That murky hole always creeped me out. Who could tell what sort of slimy lagoon horror flick creature might suddenly spring from its depths and drag a child under to a watery death? Naturally, I never failed to mention this possibility to my sisters when we visited, causing them to rush past any danger (in mostly mock terror) lurking at the bottom of the basement stairs.

Behind the furnace was a dark and mysterious crawl space, into which I dared not look. Maybe they buried old unmentioned grandpa in there. Or worse.

Like her neighbours on both sides, grandmother's house was separated from the road in front by a drainage ditch. This remained nearly dry most of the year, except for a trickle of a stream hidden in the tall weeds and grass, inviting visits from common leopard frogs and their crawling, slithering, or buzzing winged friends. Above the ditch and next to the driveway was a metal mailbox with an adjustable flag, mounted on top of a round wooden post that was also painted white.

*

"I don't want them here," my grandmother said to my father. They were standing in the kitchen. She was stirring something with a wooden spoon in a large crockery bowl. They didn't know I was just entering the room and had heard. When she noticed me in the doorway, she went silent and her face became stern. My father told me to go away.

I went back to the living room sofa, next to the coffee table that held assorted little brass ornaments like a bell, a candle snuffer, none of which we were allowed to touch. Later that afternoon as we drove away from grandmothers’ house, I asked my father why his mother didn't like kids, but he didn't say a word.

Over the years I've imagined what became of her husband, my would-have-been grandfather. No one ever speaks of him, not even when asked. Perhaps he committed some heinous crime, or maybe suicide, unspeakable to those of that generation. Or maybe my father and grandmother found him so unbearably abusive that they killed him off, a family secret not to risk revealing by ever speaking of the man.

The only photo I've seen of him is in a family portrait from the late 1930s. He is standing beside my grandmother. Seated in front are their three daughters and my father (the youngest). My grandfather looks a bit rough. Maybe the depression years did him in. All I really know about him is his name, and that he built the family house they lived in, my grandmother's house - clean, unwelcoming, and stark.

Family legend tells how my grandmother could make her young children sit unmoving on the edge of her bed while she did her house cleaning. "Like ducks in a row," she would boast of this achievement whenever the topic of child rearing or discipline was being discussed. No mention of what happened if they dared to flap their little duck wings.

*

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline Teresa

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Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2006, 05:46:59 PM »
Daniel,

So sorry on the passing of your grandmother.

Big Hugs
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2006, 06:07:02 AM »
Thank you, Teresa.

My mother left me another phone message on Sunday – this time details of when and where the funeral for my grandmother will be. Said she just wanted me to know in case I was interested in going. Arrrrrgh! You have to understand my mother has trouble letting go of the fantasy that her children all love each other and that my relatives are normal sane people, despite what is obviously the opposite. No way am I exposing myself to that mayhem and nonsense and the theatrical tendencies of certain of them. I said my goodbyes aloud and within me last time I saw her. She was obviously far along in Alzheimer’s and had already “left the building” so to speak.

So as not to listen to any attempts at a guilt trip, I mailed a sympathy card to my father Tuesday morning. The note inside read simply:

Words could never fully say the sympathy this brings today.

Because that's true, on so many levels.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline Alain

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  • Posts: 680
  • I am.
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 08:04:01 AM »
.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 08:38:53 PM by cowandalehouse »

Offline Lisa

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Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 11:32:27 AM »
Thank you for sharing this Daniel. Please accept my condolences.
I am happy for your grandmother, it seems she is finally free.
No Fear  No Shame  No Stigma
Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have.

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 01:50:43 PM »
Alain,

This will sound awful I know, but I don't consider my relatives my "family" as such. You can't choose your relatives but you can choose your family, and that’s what I've done over the years. I can honestly say the only one I feel any actual love for is my mother, so I keep in touch with her by phone each weekend (they all still live in my hometown).

Lisa,

I'm glad she's finally free from all her earthly torments too.

Thank you both for your kind words.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline anniebc

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  • AM member since 2003
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2006, 02:28:49 PM »
Dear Daniel

I have read and re-read your post several times..and I'm still not sure where my saddness really lies, the passing of your grandmother, or the fact that she missed out on the love she could have had with her children and her grand children, maybe if life been easier for her it would have made a difference...

I mean no disrespect to your family but your Granfather sounds like he was the cause of all the misery and anger that your grandmother suffered from, and then through her was passed down..you said he was a dreaded man, and sometimes through fear people find it easier to just give in and live the life that has been forced on them...it's no wonder those "little ducks" grew up to be so unhappy.

I think you have made the right choice in the way you are handling your grief over the loss of your grandmother, those words on the card said it all.. and don't forget to grieve for Daniel, you have suffered the loss of a childhood that could have been so different.. we can't bring back the past but we can  learn from it.

Love and prayers are with you.

Jan :-*





-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2006, 02:58:28 PM »
Thank you for your supportive words, Jan.

Fortunately, I have had many years of therapy and know what works best in regards to coping with my relatives. I’ve also connected (as you suggest) the path of needless misery, not only back to my meanie of my grandfather, but to poor choices made since then.

I’m very strong on people taking responsibility for their choices, whereas most of my family doesn’t want to deal with anything. They’d rather sweep problems under the rug or pretend they don’t exist. Despite recommendations for family counselling years ago, no one would participate. And that I think is a shame – knowing things could have turned out differently for everyone.

Tomorrow will be hard, since it’s the day of the funeral that I just cannot attend (for reasons I previously mentioned), but I won't be alone.

I’ve grieved most of those losses years ago, but events like my grandmothers dying only serve to bring the misery to the forefront once again. Thank God I have my chosen family and friends for support now. They are truly a blessing.

I appreciate the chance to be able to discuss this so openly with what I hope can become some AIDSmeds friends as well.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline anniebc

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  • Posts: 5,886
  • AM member since 2003
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2006, 05:42:27 PM »
Dear Daniel

I know tomorrow will be hard for you but as you said, you will not be alone, you will have your chosen family and friends with you and you will also have your friends here with you..you know the support will be here when you need it.

People deal with unpleasant times in different ways, but by pretending it didn't happen only serves to hurt them...you saw what was happening and did something about it, and you have dealt with it much better than the rest of the family have, even though this has brough back some sad memories...but I'm glad to hear you are still close to your Mother.

I would like to share a little story with you.

Several years ago I was looking after a very angry, nasty and bitter old Jewish lady, and she would lash out at me on occasion...one day I had to give her a message that a lady she knew had passed away, this was not something I was looking forward to, but I was the charge nurse on night shift that evening.
When I gave her the message she just stared at me and the only thing she said was "I knew this day would come and I knew I would live to regret it", when I asked her what she meant she told me a story that I will never forget.

She had been from a family of eight..2 parents 4 brothers and her, they were all in a concentration camp together and she was the only one who survived..she was in a unit of 11 young girls, they were put to "work", they were used and abused by the guards and other soldiers of the camp.

They were all liberated together, and after several years they managed to get in touch with each other, they wanted to form a "club" to talk about their lives and to support each other, she refused to have anything to do with them and told them to leave her alone she didn't need them..but they kept in touch, wrote to her regulary but she never replied to any of their letters.

She told me she was angry that they were getting on with their lives, that they were happy and living normal lives and "how could they forget what happened to them"..but then she said to me "they didn't forget did they?" and I said No I don't think they did, their "Club" was their therapy..it was their way of dealing with it.
We talked, or rather she talked for a long time, I have cried over patients before but never with patient the way I did that night...her regrets was she didn't make the right choices when she had the chance, she told me if she had then maybe she would have married, had children and lived a normal and happy life...she passed away 6 months later, but by talking about it after all those years the change in her was noticed by everyone and I believe that those last 6 months were the best months of her very lonely life..I went to the funeral but I didn't cry for her, I cried for the life she had lost because she didn't want to or couldn't let go of the past.

Maybe I shouldn't have told you this , but I wanted to..if only to tell you it's hard for some to let go of the past but much easier for them to pretend it didn't happen.   

Please know you will be in my thoughts tomorrow.

Hugs
Jan :-*
 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Christine

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Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2006, 07:20:22 PM »
Hi Daniel,
I am sorry about your Grandmother's passing, and I am also so sorry that there has been so much pain in your family. Jan's is so right, it is harder to accept what is and to choose to move on, and so much easier to pretend things never happened and live  in the dysfunction. Everyone has a past, and sometimes our past haunts us. And sometimes our past controls our life.

I will say a prayer that your Grandmother is free from her past.

Peace be with you,
Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline J.R.E.

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  • Posts: 6,962
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2006, 08:54:28 PM »
Hello Daniel,

Sorry to hear about your grandmothers passing. I hoped she slipped away peacefully. I never got to meet my grandparents. They were already deceased on my fathers side when I was born in 1951.

On my mothers side, they both lived in Australia, and there was no way we were gong to make that trip ! They had both passed on in the mid to late 60's



My condolences---------Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of DEC 9th, 2013,  t-cells are at 437 Viral load  <40 .

 Current % is at 16% (L)

  
 62 years young.

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2006, 07:03:36 AM »
Maybe I shouldn't have told you this , but I wanted to..if only to tell you it's hard for some to let go of the past but much easier for them to pretend it didn't happen.

You've got that right Jan, only I made up my mind years ago not to play along with nonsense. I don't pretend for anyone or sell myself short, not even relatives. Not anymore.

Jan's is so right, it is harder to accept what is and to choose to move on, and so much easier to pretend things never happened and live in the dysfunction.

Yes Christine, dysfunction is exactly what it is.

In my grieving and sadness I am also reminded that I was fortunate enough to have had at least one good grandparent relationship – with my mother's father – Andrew Vincent. I was young when he died, but I can still remember being fascinated when he came to visit by this older adult male who didn’t scare me like my usually angry father did.



Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2006, 10:27:17 AM »
Daniel, all of that notwithstanding, here you are today. And you know I and we are very glad to have you here.

For one thing, your picture makes me think of the younger Paul McCartney everytime I see it, which is a good thing. Hope you think so too.

I hear ya about family. I have very little family and I never think of my sons as family, because they are so wonderful and we really love and enjoy each other. That is absolutely not what my experience of biological family had been prior to their showing up on the planet, so I just think of them as my sons, but not family, if you get the diff.
And I am a very grateful guy that we have each other. I think I can safely say they feel the same way.

Big thanks Higher Power or whomever for the family of friends. That's been the blessing and saving grace in this life. (Jessica Tandy says something like that in FRIED GREEN TOMATOES...about friendship being "the real gold.")

So cheers to you for getting on with your life and may it be a long one with lots of different colors in it.

Andy Velez

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Grieving (apologies in advance for the length)
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2006, 11:48:19 AM »
So cheers to you for getting on with your life and may it be a long one with lots of different colors in it.

Thank you for your empathy, Andy. Fortunately I'm a survivor and learned the skills to cope with difficult people years back. I caught myself verging on having a pity party earlier but snapped out if it. Otherwise typing this would come out all jibberish since I'd be shit-faced drunk by now. LOL

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

 


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