93 ..... the new 33

My grandmother is 93. 

For all intents and purposes she may as well be 63.  And is livelier than some people of 33. 
She loves movies, outings, shopping, going to Mass, tea & cake @ Jam & Daisies, having her hair and nails done, playing bingo and of course the pre-dinner Amarula every night.  And yes, she lives in a retirement home.  Rules the roost. Gets irritated by the "old people" as she calls them ... who are usually a minimum of 10 years younger than her. 

Before the weekend her health took a turn for the worse and she was admitted to hospital for a few days of observation.  She was not happy.  Yesterday we went to visit her.  Upon seeing us she whipped off what she termed "the stupid damn oxygen mask" and proceeded to instruct us to put a surplus of cushions behind her so she could sit up.  Immediately she was unhappy as she did not have her purse with her to give the kids some tuckshop money and she had no sweets in her drawer.  Tuck money and sweets are synonymous with their great-grandmother. 

Next began the analysis of the other 3 people in her ward with her.  The first one was just ridiculously overweight, could not fit properly on the bed, gasped all the time, groaned all the time and generally bothered my ouma.  Naturally this was her description.  Next she pointed to the woman opposite her and informed us that she "just lies there, staring at the same page of the You magazine for 4 hours .... how slowly does she read??".  By now the kids and I were collapsing with laughter.  This left only the woman next to her ..... "What's wrong with her?" asked the kids ..... "Nothing", says ouma ... "she is just damn old".  She looked a decade younger than ouma. 

Having done that she proceeded to tell us that supper was soup and then some beetroot.  She asked us who on earth eats that ridiculous combination.  And commented that they did not offer her a glass of sherry.  And so it went.  She reminded us that she was going home the next day and that soon we should come over to visit.  At the last visit she offered me tea at 2pm and then suggested we have a glass of Amarula first ..... I don't have Amarula often, in fact ever, at 2pm.  It was followed by dried fruit, sandwiches, sweets and an assortment of treats that only ouma's and great-grandmothers can provide. 

When we left she gave a big smile, we said a prayer with her and as we walked out the door we said "now put on the oxygen mask again" .... and she flicked it up onto her forehead with twinkling eyes and said "like this?" ..... 

Grandmothers .... gotta love them.  I remember sleepovers by her when I was little, the stretcher next to her and my oupa's bed, my favourite meal of viennas cut into circles and smothered with tomato sauce, washed down with bright red colddrink that you mixed with water and a good dose of vanilla ice-cream completely covered in 100's and 1000's.  

Weekly trips into town on the wonderful double decker bus sitting right in front of the top section, so we could "see everything first".  Helping her work in the 2nd hand shop of Child Welfare where she worked for decades, and where I probably learnt my great love for this field, one in which I find myself working as the Business Development Manager of an NPO caring for Mentally Disabled Adults. 

And so I took leave of her yesterday at the hospital, half happy, half sad.  Happy that she is still full of the joie de vivre of life...... but sad that I am all too aware of the sands of time ....



till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx

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