While N got ready for work, I prepared for grandma’s morning, setting out meds, juice glasses, flatware cradled on a napkin. Whether or not grandma got a kiss from N had no bearing on breakfast—dark toast, over-easy egg, grits, coffee with a splash of milk—and her always asking me I wasn’t eating. I always lied that my breakfast had been earlier, I was good.
When she was done, I’d sit her in her rocker and put on the Hallmark channel, clean her dishes then take a seat opposite her, watch her, observe the perseveration of her day—thoughts, behaviors, and fears. Oftentimes she’d scuffle off with her walker and, if she went past the bathroom, I’d have to corral her back to her recliner, let her know that there was no one else in the house, that there wasn’t a party going on in the garage. We’d do that a couple times before lunch.
I couldn’t tell her I had no appetite to join her while she scarfed the lunch I’d made. Still convinced that more people were somewhere in the house, she had to be steered back to her place in front of the TV and away from whatever spirits were playing Uno in the garage.
“When’s dinner?” Pretty much every fifteen minutes after she’d finished lunch and lost interest in whatever was going on with Gunsmoke. She wasn’t hungry, she was convinced there’s be other people her age gathered somewhere to eat and that’s where she wanted to be. Not with some smart ass scribbling in a notebook, she was convinced there’s be her kind gathered for bland food, chatting about things she’d forget as soon as she heard about them.
Rather than confuse her with, “You just ate a half hour ago, dinner’s in four hours,” I learned to just say, “I’ll get dinner started in a bit, I’m not gonna let anyone starve.” She’d ask again in another fifteen minutes so it was better to not confuse her with temporal touchstones. “I’ll get dinner started in a bit,” sufficed, held her at bay for another fifteen minutes.
Rejecting you for N was my worst mistake. Staying with N and believing that we had a future together was just a level beneath that. But just below.