My son heard me drop an F-bomb this evening.
My sister called. My 90-year-old grandmother was in the emergency room, incoherent and unresponsive.
My son understood.
I met my dad and sister at the hospital. My uncle showed up a little later.
I've posted about nana before. She has Alzheimers now, and has been in a home for over 3 years. It used to be that she didn't seem aware of her surroundings but could still speak intelligibly; now it all sounds like incoherent babble.
Apparently she was incoherent, completely out of it, when they got to the hospital today, but this evening she started babbling a little again. My sister listened and was able to make out a few words.
Bill. All died. Four of us. Baby Bill. Always had food.
My sister didn't know it, but she was translating. You see, I know those words. I know the story they belong to. What we've long thought was babbling was actually nana's continuing to tell the same stories I've heard hundreds of times growing up.
She was the second of four children. Her only brother, Bill, was the youngest. Their father died in a coal mining accident when she was young. Her mother raised them on a widow's pension, supplemented by doing seamstress work in the neighborhood. They were poor, but they always had enough food.
My sister would say the few words she could understand, and I'd tell her what part of the story nana was telling. My sister would repeat it to nana, who would say, "Yeah." I augmented what she was saying, telling my sister the stories nana used to tell me about growing up in England during the Depression. My sister would ask about certain details, and nana would reply, "Yeah."
I've heard that with Alzheimers, you eventually regress back to childhood. Maybe that's where nana is now, back in England as a happy, young, fatherless girl.
Just in case, I was composing a eulogy on my way to the hospital. I'm thankful that right now it seems that I won't have to use it for awhile.