Distance

Desiree

Distance

Desiree
road-595101_640I find myself keeping rather quiet these days. Not hard to do, as I am by nature not very talkative. (In another time and place, I could see myself taking a vow of silence, easily.) Back when I was single, I'd easily go an entire day without saying a word aloud.

It's been eight years now since Grandma moved back in. She couldn't live alone after Grandpa died. And, after all, this is her house. She allows us to share with her, not the other way around. And I have been talking a lot more in these eight years than in probably the thirty years previous.

Grandma's a very chatty, social person.  She seems to really dislike silence, always has her TV on and usually the radio in her bathroom as well. But the voice she seems to like best is her own. There's no conversation she won't jump into. No topic she won't voice an opinion on (even politics, and she doesn't vote. It's against her religion) Talking with her can be exhausting. She interrupts constantly. I've gotten in the habit of just shutting up when this happens. I don't think she even notices.

For eight years I made a good effort to respond to the chatter about things that make my head feel like it's gonna explode. Celebrity gossip, reality TV (medical and courtroom shows are her favorites), illness, preferably her own, but yours will do in a pinch. How the world is just terrible and getting worse by the day. I learned early on that she doesn't really want to discuss possible solutions. She just enjoys the misery-fed pity party. And I know it's not just me. She'll talk to anyone this way. The poor cashier at Safeway doesn't stand a chance. She's a captive audience, until I'm able to convince Grandma that we must be on our way. She'd just go on talking, and I'd nod my (aching) head and go, "oh, um" as needed.

But now I just can't seem to be bothered to make even that much effort. I'm exhausted. And hurting. And, somehow, I just can't seem to get past that response she made when I broke down and wept. Wept for my mother, for myself. (You need to calm down, honey! I need you to drive me to Walmart!) Somehow, no matter what happens or to whom, she can always find a way to make it all about her. Every single damn time.

She's 96 years old, and it's very unlikely that her habits will change. I'm her granddaughter, and it's not my job, or my place, to try to convince her to change. The only one I can change is myself. I still haven't figured out how to accomplish this. Not this time.

I do still love her. In her own way, I'm sure that she loves me. But there's a distance between us now, that wasn't there before. What makes me sad is, I'm not really much inclined to worry about fixing it.