I was so looking forward to posting my good (no make that GREAT) news, but it looks like that will have to wait - I received some bad news today.
I spoke with my mom this afternoon and she told me that my grandmother felt dizzy last night and fell. My mom and cousin (who basically are her caretakers) took her to the doctor who gave them the following diagnosis: severe dementia and Alzheimer's.
This shouldn't come as a complete surprise to me, but for some reason it did. Hearing the words made it so much more real.
Despite everything that has happened, I feel sorry for her. She hasn't been very kind and loving to my mom over the years and at times, has been downright mean. This makes it difficult to feel sympathy for her, to hug her and tell her I love her (which I still do).
I'm still processing this and don't really know how to respond just yet. I know that deep down my grandma is a sweet and kind woman. I know that she has been through so much in her life - widowed at a young age, had her home robbed twice, survived a house fire, and lost her daughter to cancer. But there is another side to her - the tough Italian woman who doesn't acknowledge that she is sad or that she has experienced significant losses in her life. She doesn't let herself cry and doesn't like it when other people cry. She doesn't acknowledge all that my mom and cousin do for her. She doesn't thank them, but expects them to care for her.
I miss the grandma that used to chase me through the backyard. I miss the grandma that would cook homemade "macaroni" and biscotti for us and shout "Mangia! Mangia!" I miss the grandma that would teach us how to swear and insult people in Italian. I am proud to be able to say the following in Italian: shut-up, shit, fuck, whore/slut, stupid, slob, piss. You have no idea how handy this can be...
In honor of my grandma, Lucy Lily, here's the most recent picture I have of her (along with my cousin, Kelley) - taken in March 2007: