This blog post is probably going to make me look like a really horrible person who is making fun of my poor grandmother who is losing her damn mind. And yes I’ve done it before. And certainly I have no qualms about making fun of the rest of my family. But contrary to popular belief, I am actually a person that bends over backwards to be nice in real life and I’m sure that probably makes some people think I’m an even worse person since I make fun of people behind their backs…. but whatev YOU DON’T KNOW ME. THAT’S THE PROPER WAY TO DO THINGS. Making fun of people to their faces is just damn rude. But anyway, this post isn’t about how nice I am, I just wanted to get that out there because I feel guilty about writing this post. But it has to be done.
And recently I did tell my aunt (who retired at 50 because, as far as I can tell, she worked for the government for 30 years, qualified for retirement and decided she didn’t want to work anymore and could live off her pension for the rest of her life, although now she always complains that she doesn’t have any money, but she still won’t get a damn job. But I digress) after she huffily complained that I was late for dinner, that “unlike some people in the family, my husband and I, you know, WORK FOR A LIVING.” I don’t think my extended family has any delusions that I harbor any great feelings of love for them.
Also, my uncle (married to the other aunt, not the aunt referred to above, but her sister who coincidentally ALSO doesn’t work although the reason is completely unclear to me) got cancer a couple of years back and it was devastating to them, naturally. The treatments, as everyone knows, are very expensive and he couldn’t work and because I believe family should help each other, even if they don’t like them very much, I gave them a few hundred dollars to try to help out with expenses. I saw them a couple of weeks later and my aunt proudly showed off her brand new Kindle Fire. Yeah.
Anyway, this was actually not meant to be about them, but about my grandmother, who clearly has some form of dementia and which my family is clearly actively burying their heads in the sand about it. I’ve been slowly noticing little things for 3-4 years now, but in the past year it’s gotten really bad.
1. A couple of my family members and I once had an entire 10 minute conversation with my grandmother about a friend of my Dad’s, Ryan, who was coming over. My grandmother was a full participant in the conversation. We were talking about Ryan being a distant-past friend of Dad’s who was now getting in dad’s line of business and was coming over to get some advice. Grandma had met Ryan once. The conversation came to a natural conclusion and no more than 5 minutes passed before Ryan’s car pulled into the driveway. Grandma saw the car pull up, looked at me and asked “Who is that?” Me: “Oh! That’s Ryan.” Grandma: “Who?” Me: “Ryan. Dad’s friend.” Grandma: “Who’s Ryan???”
2. She has gotten mean. My grandmother has been a lot of things in the past — selfish, lazy, inconsiderate, but never outright mean. But things have changed recently. Last year my aunt was dating a really nice guy who had a bit of a beer gut. One night my grandmother looked at him and said, “My daughter will never marry you. You’re too fat.”
3. In a similar vein, she once told the same aunt that nobody would ever marry her because she was too fat and ugly.
4. My parents have one of those digital pictures frames. My picture came up.
There’s a reason that when I draw myself for this blog, I represent myself ghostly white with red hair, ok? In real like I joke about having a florescent light glow since that’s the only kind of light I ever see.
So grandma sees a picture of me come up and exclaims “That’s Jodi Arias!”
(For those of you unfamiliar, Jodi Arias is a woman who is currently on trial for killing her boyfriend.
She looks like this:
My mom, who was nearby and heard my grandma say this, exclaimed “Grandma! That’s Amanda!”
Grandma: “No! That’s Jodi Arias! Have you been watching that trial? I have. I think she did it.”
So my grandma has confused me, the whitest white girl that ever whited, with a Hispanic stranger she’s never met. That just happens to be accused of being a murderer.
5. For some ungodly reason my dad decided it would be a good idea to give my grandmother, who barely knows what an email is, an iPad for Christmas. He hooked it up to charge that morning. Later that night, as everyone was leaving, my husband and I were helping to get grandma packed up, because if she’s left to her own devices she will leave something behind. We saw an Apple charging cord (you know, before they decided to be total dicks and change the USB connection size on some of their devices, so this was a universal one) on the counter so we called to her that she had forgotten her iPad charger and gave it to her. Literally a few minutes later, my dad noticed it was gone and asked where it was. We told him we gave it to grandma and he said that it was his. Oops. So we called grandma over and told her that we mistakenly gave her Dad’s charger. She refused to give it back, insisting it was hers. We argued with her for 10 minutes and she continued to refuse to change her mind. To this day she hasn’t given it back.
6. Grandma will sit and look like she’s listening to what everyone is saying, but then responds to conversations no one else in the room is having. For example, an actual conversation involving Grandma, Dad, and my Brother-in-law:
Dad: “My air conditioner has broken, the air conditioner repairman is here.”
Brother-in-law: “Is it bad?”
Dad: “Well, he was here until 11 o’clock last night and is back again today.”
Grandma: “Is he wound up?”
Brother-in-law and dad look at her blankly.
Brother-in-law: “Wound up?”
Grandma: “Your sons. Are they wound up tonight?”
7. Pronounces salmon as “sal-man.” Not a sign of dementia, I just think it’s funny.
And just because I aim to please, I searched my tweets for mentions of my grandma to remember some of these items, and I founds some real gems that I had totally forgotten about. These don’t really have any back story, just funny things about my grandma to end the story:
- Grandma, about the Lincoln movie: “It ended when he was shot.” Me: “Grandma! You just spoiled the movie! He dies?!” Grandma: *confused*
- My grandma just cut in front of me to pour a glass of wine.
- My grandma sure can take out a bottle or two of wine.
- I got to drive my drunk grandmother home last night. Raise of hands — who has gotten to do that?
- And now my mom is trying to explain Fifty Shades of Grey to my grandmother. I’m incredibly uncomfortable.
- My grandmother just told me a story, except it was only the end of the story. I have no idea what is going on.
- My Lord, we’re having a 10 minute conversation about what foods my grandmother finds to be aphrodisiacs. FML.
- My grandma hands out too much with my 2 aunts who live at the beach and refuse to work. She called me yesterday at 1pm (a weekday) and asked if she had woken me up.
And on one particularly bad night for her, I made this: