When my grandmother turned 84, my mother put this note on her mirror. I felt bad, because I had some kind of freak pneumonia and couldn't go see her that day. I called. She didn't remember it was her birthday. She didn't remember who had called and who hadn't. I dropped my guilt and went on with my day. That was in November.
My brother and I went to see her yesterday. She was all tucked into bed, her wheelchair sat empty in the corner. I saw that sign on her mirror and realized we probably wouldn't be making one that said 85 on it. We're in the home stretch now. Soon there will be no more mushy, one-color meals and there will be no more matching of socks. There will be no more bringing her fresh tubes of Biotene toothpaste. In lieu of motherhood, I've thrown myself into taking care of her while my cousins were all busy with their babies.
Soon I will no longer be her caretaker. I will only be her granddaughter.
I wore lipstick and covered my tattoos as not to give her an unnecessary heart attack and speed along the process. She was pleasant, though uncomfortable and confused. Before we left, I kissed her on her forehead and told her not to party too hard. Her smile curled upwards as she chuckled. That may be my final memory of my grandmother. For her sake, I hope it is.