Sunday, June 17, 2007

more than i can bear

I haven't been posting. Once again, I was too busy. It's a problem.

I need a little time to write about me. Or about my life -- because I'm not doing so well.

This Thursday my aunt called to tell me that there had been a fire in my grandmother's apartment. My 91-year-old grandmother. The story is that she was out at a doctor's appointment with her aide and, while she was out, the cleaning lady (a stand-in for the regular cleaning lady) started a fire in the kitchen. Now my grandmother is homeless and living in the club house of her building until she can move into another apartment in the building. It will be a month or two before she can move back into her own place.

I don't know if you ever seen a home -- an apartment -- up close after a fire. It's horrifying: charred wood, melted plastic, the broken glass, a layer of soot on everything, the path of the smoke and fire illustrated on the ceilings and the walls.

And the smell. The smell is horrible and, three days later, it seems like it won't ever go away, even with the industrial strength fans blowing in your grandmother's sitting room, the furniture upended, her "things" knocked about.

In the past nine months or so, my grandmother's short term memory has dwindled. She's turned into an old lady, after years of defying the inevitable. She doesn't really know what's happening to her, she has to be told over and over again. She wants to be back amongst her "things."

When my aunt called to tell me that there had been a fire in my grandmother's apartment, the first thing I thought of were those "things." My grandmother is going to gone very soon and all that will be left of her are her "things." And for a moment, I thought, not only will she be gone, but those "things" are gone now too.

And, for a moment, it was more than I could bear.


Anonymous said...

Alison, so sorry to hear about your grandmother's apartment. Hang in there.


abf said...

Thanks, Jennifer.