The Matriarch Is Gone

Published April 5, 2011 by Hemlock

Around 8:30 this morning I got a call from my Nana that my Great Grandmother had passed away yesterday.  I believe she was 85 or 86 years old.  Her health had been failing (Diabetes, Macular Degeneration, Heart Disease and various other things) for nearly 10 years.

I will admit that even though she raised me, we weren’t very close.  Yes, I loved her, but our personalities just clashed too much for any long term contact… even over the phone.  We had a bit of a love-hate relationship.  When I talked to her last week, I knew it would be the last time and was patiently awaiting the call.

I won’t lie and say that she was a wonderful person, because she wasn’t.  She was  selfish, judgmental, and manipulative.  However, she was a strong woman, who I had a lot of respect for and she really was the person that shaped me into who I am today (for better or for worse, but you’d have to ask my husband on that one!).  Hell, she was probably the only one that was hard ass enough, at first, to raise me.  I’d probably be doing drugs right now if my mother had raised me (love her, though!).  Instead, I’m an incredibly stubborn, head-strong, smart-ass, strong, resilient woman.

I’m not upset at all, and honestly, it was time that she passed.  She didn’t want to be a burden to anyone, and she never wanted to have to rely on other people and it was getting to that point on all accounts.  As her bitterness progressed across the years, she became less and less pleasant and life with her became more and more drama filled.  I was very angry with her for many years for what she put my Nana through (taking care of three ailing and dieing parents) and it did put a serious strain on our relationship for a very long time.  Even to this day, we never told Grandma when we were coming into town.  We’d go see Nana and that was it.

You know what, though?  No one is perfect… especially someone in my family.

Mom and I still have no idea what exactly happened, but apparently she was found dead in her recliner chair yesterday after a friend had tried repeatedly to call her and wasn’t getting a response.  Nana went down to go check on her, and that’s when she found her.  *shrugs*  We don’t know if her heart finally gave out, or if she… had some help from a little too much insulin.  However it happened, it appears that it was quick and she deserved that much.  She was lonely, and she feared death greatly.

There will be no funeral, as she didn’t want one.  She’ll be cremated, and her ashes will be spread.  There’s not much to do with her apartment as she started giving away everything about 2-3 years ago.  I worry about Nana, as there’s a lot of guilt there, but she’s in Robot Mode right now.  Mom and I may, or may not go down to Santa Cruz to help out however we can, but Nana has said she doesn’t need help.  Whether that’s the case, or not, we’re not sure but we should know soon.

My only regret is that I didn’t give her any Great-Great Grandbabies.  If anything, I feel even more pressure now.  My Grandpa Bill is not much younger than her (and really doesn’t take care of himself, and is a recent cancer survivor), and though he’s not related by blood, he’s the driving male-force in my life… closest thing I’ve ever had to a Father.  I’m not upset in the least about my grandmother (more a sense of relief with her than anything else… does that make me a bad person?), but when my Grandpa Bill passes… That one’s going to be hard.  Really, really hard and at first I thought Nana was calling me to tell me that Grandpa had passed away.  I want so desperately to give him grandbabies, but with every passing month, and every miscarriage the outlook gets worse.  I want my children to know their Grandfather, but I know it’s not going to happen.

Either way, I’m glad that she’s gone and she doesn’t have to worry anymore.

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