Monday, July 11, 2005

Family > All

Right now my grandmother, "Granny" as she's known to me, is in the hospital. It's nothing terminal or anything, she's receiving treatment for an arthritic hip. She was at home watching TV and she found herself unable to get out of her chair.

Granny is and always has been a go-getter. She's always in the garden tending to her beautiful flowers, and only recently delegated the task of mowing her own lawn (a large one at that) to someone else. She's in her mid-eighties, lives on her own in a large two story house which she cleans herself, she still is very very independent. Recently her vision has started to deteriorate and she recently had cataract surgery, and lately her knee has been hurting from arthritis and she's been waiting for a knee replacement. I'm making her sound like a bit of a basket-case but she's never missed a beat, she's (up until this point) been very active.

I have nothing but fond memories of both of my grandparents - my grandfather, Austral, died when I was 9 or so I think. I remember his loss very vividly. He was a great man, and a fantastic grandfather aka "Grandad" or "Grandee". I remember playing cricket with him on their front lawn - the same lawn that Granny has tended all these years. We'd go on walks and picnics in the woods, climb million-foot ladders to the tops of gigantic trees, play with an assortment of random trinkets in his tool shed, from tools and toys, to things that he'd found on one of his walks and taken home. It was always an adventure. Probably one of the reasons I gave my first child his name. Rowan Austral Hobbs. I wanted a reminder of the adventures which it will now be my paternal duty to provide for my children - and I'm sure one day, their children too.

The loss of my Grandad was my first experience losing an immediate family member and affected me a great deal. I've since lost Uncles and Great Aunts, and Grandmother-in-laws, none of whom I've been particularly close to, and only one of which was in the same country as I am currently.

Granny, like Grandad, I also have nothing but fond memories of. She'd join in with the cricket games, she was always a provider of candy, tea, and fantastic dinners. She was always there with us on our rambles across country, helping us climb the ladders, stashing bags of conkers to give to us before all the other kids could get to them; and she always had a way of making us behave without having to shout or spank us. Not only did we WANT to behave for Granny, but we were just so busy having a good time that we didn't really have time to think about misbehaving.

So back to my point... Granny is now in hospital and has been for a couple of weeks. She will remain there for a couple more weeks, receiving physiotherapy, pain killer, soon the originally-planned knee replacement, followed by more physio and rehabilitation. They'll let her go home when she shows she's again able to climb the stairs and walk around freely without too much assistance - Although she'll now receive regular home-help. Knowing Granny that recovery time won't be long. Also knowing her lust for independence and activity I know it's really hard for her being cooped up in a hosptial ward. She wants to be at home, making her OWN cup of tea when she wants it, not having someone else make one for her when they think she should have one. She wants to sit outside and chat with her neighbors about the local gossip. She wants to feed her canary and watch the shows she likes on TV. She wants to do her own thing. She's probably sitting around thinking about all the things that need doing at home, being left undone.

It's times like these I wish I was there, just to pop in and say Hi. Just to brighten her day and give her my support. Is it wrong to feel so guilty for not being there? I'm at work trying to find some suitable flowers to send to her, knowing that they'll make her really happy when she gets them, but also knowing that it's just not enough. I want to go and see her more than anything. She hasn't met my youngest child yet. I know she'd love to see him. I'd love for them to meet.

I NEED to see my family.

Not everyone will understand it as a "need". Everyone is different when it comes to relationships, especially with family. But to me, my family is right up there on the scale of "important things" and "reasons for living". It tears me apart knowing that I can't just see them whenever I want to.
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