My paternal grandma died on Saturday, 7/1. I was a saddened by the news as my mother delivered it to me, but I didn't cry or get terribly upset.
Do I sound heartless? She was almost 88 (would have been tomorrow).
My grandma and I had a tense and very strained relationship. She hated my mother, but a few months ago she told my dad to bring my mom around (my mother hasn't seen her in years on purpose), that she loved her and wanted to apologize for being so mean. Death bed redemption I suppose.
My grandma has always been a sickly person. My whole life she rarely got out of her electric lift recliner. She had horrible degenerative rheumatoid arthritis. She pretty much didn't have joints. During her last few years living in a nursing home she couldn't feed herself because she couldn't grip her utensils. She couldn't give herself a drink because she couldn't lift her cup. What's worse, someone stole her bottom dentures so she only had her top ones. Who fucking does this???
My mother didn't grant Grandma's wish. But, she did go with my father to my dad's hometown of Effingham, IL to her wake and funeral which takes place tomorrow (ironically on her birthday).
My grandma once told my mother that she was a loose woman with the morals of an alley cat. She didn't like my mother, a twice divorced, single mother of one. Plus, she really didn't like that my mother was two years older than my dad and then I was born out of wedlock.
Here's the sitch. The real "meat and potatoes" of it. My parents dated while my dad was in college. My mom owned a beauty salon and worked part time as a waitress at the Moose club where my pops bartended. She was not yet divorced from her second husband, who was physicially abusive to her so much that she left him. She just hadn't gotten divorced yet. They dated for quite a while, then pops graduated and went off to teach at a highschool in another town.
Mom was prego with me by then and didn't know what the heck she was gonna do. She actually went back to her loser, abusive hubby and tried to convince him I was his (she was already 3 mos pregnant). He took her back, but wasn't kind to her or my older sister. In fact, when she was within a week of delivery he beat her and chased her into the bathroom where she locked herself in. She waited for him to leave then packed her things and got a neighbor to help her put her things in her car. She never went back. A week later I was born.
My pops never knew there was a "me" on the way until my maternal grandmother and step grandpa drove to where he lived and laid it on him like a ton of bricks. They told him what my mother had been going through and that I was about to be born.
Needless to say my pops was floored. Grams's says he turned white as a sheet and just sat there with bugged eyes and gaping mouth.
The bad part was my dad was engaged to marry this wannabe beauty queen chick. Some skinny blonde. He told her what was going on, about my mom and me. She took it well I guess, but eventually wrote him a Dear John letter. Lucky for me. Yah, Grandma was pissed. And that's the understatement of the century. She wanted a beauty queen daughter in law. Yah, get over it.
The day I was born my grandparents snuck my pops into the hospital. I looked just like him. In fact our baby pics are nearly identical. Freaky.
Needless to say, my pops and mom got married seven months later after she divorced the bully. They've been together ever since.
I think I got off track.
I didn't go to my grandma's funeral. I feel a bit guilty about it, but my parents don't think I should. If my mom's mother were to die I would be there. She's always been in my life and has always been very good to me and my pop. Grandma Pops was mean sometimes. She would just get evil on your ass with no warning. I suspect she had borderline personality disorder.
Anyway, my pop's side of the family is wacked. My uncle may be the only sane one and I question even that because the dude went from Democrat to staunch Republican. What is it with Catholics??? I think it was my freak cousin Bill's doing. He's a militant Christo-Republican, as my dad likes to call them. So freakin' Catholic that he and his wife have kneelers in their bedroom for prayer! Their walls are covered with pictures of Christ and they have crucifixes in every room. I wonder if they are attempting to ward off the devil or something?
Anyway, I am a former Catholic so I believe that my dad's side of the family thinks I'm doomed to the pits of hell for all eternity. I just don't believe in organized religion...so sue me.
I guess Grandma Pop's continued bible thumping and her hating on my mom was enough to make me disengage myself from the family. I'm sure Grandma blamed my mother for that too. Didn't matter what the issue was, my "whore" mother got the blame.
About 3 years ago I was passing through my pop's home town and stopped to visit my uncle and aunt. Unfortunately my uncle insisted that I see Grandma. She looked horrible. Sad and old, and long white hair. She had fallen and gotten a black eye months before and it was still there. At that time she had both top and bottom dentures so she talked normally. She was glad to see me. She acted like there had been no bad blood between us. Years before I had torn into her and put her in her place when she blamed my mother for something that my cousin (my dad's sister's kid) did to my younger sister (stabbed her in the head with a big kitchen knife for being nice to a boy my cousin liked. Yah, I know what you're thinking...Fucking INSANE). She and my aunt said to me that kids turn out the way they do because of the mother. "Interesting how it's Suzie that stabbed my sister, I guess you have to take the blame for that one don'tcha Aunt C!!!!" I yelled at them over the phone. Now sweet little Suzie Q is in jail for counterfitting money. Can we say "sweet vindication???? "
Maybe I sound mean, but DAMN that woman could be evil! My cousin (pre-religious & Republican fanatacism) called me up to congratulate me because Grandma had been doing the same thing to his mother for years. He said he was glad that someone had finally torn Grandma a new asshole. "Amen to that," I said.
Okay, maybe I should get way beyond the old stuff and move on...I have done so, truly. I guess there was just so much bad blood. She alienated us from that side of the family because of her sneaky, manipulative ways. The woman actually faked amnesia to get us to come visit her! She was always faking something or saying something nasty about someone. If kharma exists, Grandma's in for an even uglier next life. If it doesn't I sure hope there is air conditioning in hell.