Like my paternal grandfather, I nod off every day all day. I remember him sitting by the telephone waiting for the call – the business call he remembered from his working days. He nodded off all day every day. It was sad – the way he waited and nodded off all day. I remember sitting with him and wondering what he did when I was not visiting. Did he simply sit by that phone all day? I knew that my grandmother had drunk herself into an odd sort of delirium. She sat and she slunk and she shook the way alcoholics do at the end of their lives when age forces them to stop drinking. My grandfather was bored and alone.

I feel the same way: bored and alone. I don’t know what to do about it. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do. I sit here looking at my computer wondering what I can do that’s interesting. As far as I know, there is really nothing. I know that Shovanna, my aide, is as bored as I am; she sits here all day looking at her phone. We don’t have lives in common. We really don’t share much experience. On nice days we might go to the park and watch the children play. On nice days we might go out to eat. But those things just fill time; they don’t alleviate the boredom.

My paternal grandmother drank. I imagine that was why drank–she was bored. She had gone to college; she had been a beauty. I see pictures of her with books in her hand smiling at the camera. I imagine that the college girl she once had been had dreamed of a happy life filled with busy days. However, her life was boring. She cleaned; she decorated a lovely home; she talked and laughed (and I suspect even drank a little) with Laverne, her housekeeper. She also raised a child, though I suspect she didn’t do that very well because she was bored. In the end, all of that stimulated her intellect very little. I suspect she was bored.

I didn’t understand her when I was a child; I favored my grandfather and believed that my grandmother neglected him because she drank. I believed that she was angry and even a bit evil. I believed that the woman I knew when I was a teenager was the woman she had always been. When I was a teenager she fell down drunk almost every day. She drove my sister and me to the mall down winding roads and through much traffic. Her driving was dangerous; she swerved from one side of the road to the other. She seemed unaware of the cars around her. My sister and I were scared, but we were also greedy. We wanted the gifts she bought us.

Likely paternal grandmother I am bored. Like my paternal grandfather I nod off every day all day. I’m not sure what to do about this. I write; I look at the Internet; I even try to do some kind of research. But I can’t get any of this to hold my attention for very long. I suspect that the reason for this is my illness, so I can’t do much about it. I resent my illness. I even resent myself sometimes. I think too much about my paternal grandparents. I know them too well; I feel their presence to vividly.


2 thoughts on “My Paternal Grandparents
  1. As a fellow Mser who is largely homebound, I too see pieces of myself in memories of my family members. I particularly see reflections in thoughts of my mother, which is definitely a mixed bag. She was a wonderful mother when I was a child, teaching without ever talking down to me or my siblings. Unfortunately, she too grew frustrated with the life assigned to her as a young woman in the 1950s, and began to show signs of severe depression by the time I was in college. The “treatments” she received only made it worse. In August of 1989, about six weeks prior to her 57th birthday, she closed up the garage, got in her car, started the engine and let the exhaust fumes end her misery.

    More and more, I understand her reasons, while, at the same time, I resent her for ending her life when she was still so physically sound. She could stand, walk, work, drive, go, do, visit — all the things I dream of now — yet, it wasn’t enough.

    I don’t want to be like my mother, and yet, there it is.

  2. Wow, Lisa. Your comments really move me. I see your mother getting so frustrated that she gets in the car and lets the fumes do their work. I also see you left without a mother and knowing for most of your life that suicide is an option. I’m glad you don’t want to be like your mother because what she did – despite the fact that she felt so alone – was really cowardly. Please don’t be like your mother; don’t think about suicide as an option for ending the pain. Also, what you write here is beautiful. May I suggest that you start your own blog? I would love to hear from you again. If you send me another message here with your email address I will write back to you. Good luck.

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