Last night, we all got together for my Grandma D’s 90th birthday, which is Tuesday. She still drives. Her mind is still sharp. She lives on her own. She’s slowly shrinking and needs a cane, but otherwise is in fine health. She seemed flummoxed by turning 90. She is incredibly curious about people who are older than her, of which there are very few. What do they do? Are their minds still sharp? Do they live on their own?
When you say “I’ll see you again very soon,” she laughs and says, “Maybe” like her being alive still, 90 years after her birth, is the most ridiculous thing she can think of. I can’t tell if she’s afraid or not. She seems kind of afraid of dying, but kind of afraid she won’t. She doesn’t talk about God or Heaven. Mostly she talks about not being hungry and who will drive her places, since she’s very particular about who she rides with.
I had a good trip up to Illinois. But, by the end, it was very hard. No one wants me to move north. I don’t want to move north. But there’s something that breaks my heart about driving through towns where I used to live, driving by places I hung out with my old friends, knowing some of them are just the next exit up or the next.
Should I be there?
I don’t know.
But I’m here and I was glad to be home.
The house smells like old people, for some reason.
And I, like my Grandma before me, find it somewhat strange that this is my life and yet, here we are.