Grandparents

Living so far away from family my father and I know that we run the risk that bad news is going to sneak up on us.  We have been preparing ourselves for the possible death of my grandfather.  He is a brave, proud man who fought in WW2, and up until 2011 had lived alone with my grandmother.

Last year his mental and physical health meant that he was admitted to a mental health assessment unit – and then into a  residential care home.  My grandmother visits when she can, but he is rarely the man he used to be.  When I left the UK in January of 2011, I cried when I hugged him good bye, because we both knew it would probably be the last time I would see him, and I was his “little princess”.

So Monday morning when my uncle called, my dad was shocked to hear that my grandmother had died.  Dad knew that she had been sick with a cold the week before and my uncle had stayed with her trying to convince her to go to hospital.  However my grandmother was a very tough and stubborn woman and she has always had a profound fear of hospitals.  She refused absolutely to go until my uncle called the ambulance and forced her.  She died less than 24 hours later.

For the past 15 years I have been visiting both sets of grandparents and watching them age.  Every year that I go back to the UK has brought new worries about their health and quality of life.  My mother’s dad died first, (a knitter and I have all his needles), and in 2010 we were with my mom’s mother when she died.  Now my dad’s mother, also a knitter.  I still have all the sweaters she knit for the girls; from newborn up to 5 years, in all colours of the rainbow.

It is impossible for me to write in one post about my grandmother’s death; all of the mix of emotions, feelings and thoughts. Because granddad’s mind is now so damaged and confused – it is the end of an era.  It is not just who she was but also about all of my grandparents together, and about how we prepare for old age and care for our parents.

My Mom (who is here visiting me) says, “there went a woman in control – Ah that I will  have that kind of control to the end.”

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Happy Anniversary blog

Today my blog is one year old, and I have been thinking about how to celebrate.

I wanted to write something nice, not just about how last week my whole family caught some stomach bug.  One by one through the week we took our turns in bed with the “sicky bowl”.  On the positive side we didn’t all get sick on the same day; on the negative side the girls got sick in the evening and I had to sit up all night with them.

But that is not what I want to write about on my anniversary.  I have been thinking about the types of blogs I like to read and the friendships I feel I have made with other bloggers.  Some of the blogs I read are crafty or about small farms, others about lives I find interesting.   Some I maintain a dialogue with and think of them as friends, some I just observe what is happening in their lives.

I never thought my blog would be very personal but I realise now that I am not the type of person who writes just facts.  When I was young I kept a diary, and after that a journal.  From the age of 12 till 24 I wrote about every thing in my life.  This blog isn’t that, but I know the blogs I like are the ones when you feel the person writing.

So with that in mind, and as a way to say thanks to people who read my blog, I am going to share a bit more about myself.

 

Some of the things that make me who I am is the places I have lived.  I was born in Canada, (Manitoba), but then lived in the USA, (Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, and Arizona) and in the UK, (Lancashire, London, and Devon).  I now live in Chile, (Region IV).

I am a natural blond, but started going grey after a dream about spiders when I was 20.  Now I am a mix of blonds and white.  When I was younger I always changed my hair colour, reds mainly, but last year while living in the UK I dyed my hair blue/black.  I loved it, but keeping on top of the roots was not worth the trouble.

I hardly wear make-up, never use heels or iron clothes, and prefer to be in comfortable clothes or better, PJ’s!  (which is actually a bit unusually in Chile, PJ’s are for in bed)

I have suffered my whole life from migraines.  They can be a low grade pain for 3 days or severe pain for 3 hours, or the more common headache followed by repeated, day long vomiting. I am always changing my diet and watching what I eat to try and reduce the severity and number of attacks.  (At the moment no MSG and alcohol, which is no fun, I like junk food!)  Not drinking seems to be making the biggest difference, (not that I drank much before), but I am not getting as sick.

Migraine’s shape so much of who I am, from not being able to eat certain foods to worrying about missing special occasions because that is when I always get sick.  I am starting to understand them more now, knowing that stress and lack of sleep are big triggers, and learning to anticipate them.  Luckily I have a very understanding husband who takes over when I “crash” and usually knows when they are coming, telling me to calm down and relax.

I have two beautiful daughters, aged 7 and 15.  The younger likes to do crafty stuff with me, the older one likes to watch TV marathons with me.

Let’see what else?  I am kind of specific about how and where the laundry gets hung, (my family loves to tease me about this), and I love to see laundry on the line.

I cry very easily; sad stories, the news, Disney films, some commercials…

I have a tattoo of a lizard, well it was.  Now it looks like a gila monster.

Oh, and I love wool, and spinning, and felting, and weaving, and everything related to fibre!  But then I guess everyone already knows that.

Once de Septiembre

Today is the 11th of September, and it has been a long week.

Here in Chile most of the country has been in mourning after a plane crash killed a well loved celebrity along with 20 other people.  The plane was lost at sea near the island of Juan Fernandez, where it was trying to land.  We have had a week of almost 24 hour news coverage as they find parts of the plane and parts of the people.  The accident was even sadder because all the people were going to the island to help with the rebuilding that has been going on since the earthquake last year.

Then comes the weekend, and programs of the Twin Towers have been on the TV.  The whole world remembers this date because of the attack, sadly Chile has been remembering this date for almost 40 years.  The 11th of September 1973, the Presidential Palace was bombed with president Allende inside.  This began the 17 year dictatorship of Pinochet.  Like the Twin Towers, my husband remembers watching on TV as planes bombed the palace and fear became the common feeling across the country.  Should I mention the irony of the United States’s involvement in Chile during the 70’s, and the date of the Twin Tower’s attack?

And, most painful for my family this week has been my youngest feeling sick again.  She has been suffering with severe stomach pain and nausea, which has meant more visits to the doctors, abdominal scans, and blood tests.  The general opinion was that it was colic, because she is eating a more varied diet a month after the operation.  But we were also told that she may have problems with her intestines “sticking” at any time in her life.

She is feeling better now, and we have had a restful weekend, trying not to watch the TV, or think about all the sad things that have happened on this date.  We have to take a moment to remember these things that are so terrible; to remember how we were effected…so that we don’t repeat them.

Unfortunately, you would think after “witnessing” so many atrocities we would have learned.