Bring Out Your Dead

          So have you bought your Grandparents a gift for Sunday? How about a card? Have you tried the recording? For those of you who have grandparents that have made an impact on your life, make Sunday special and show them your love. We realize that our reverence for grandparents has been less than consistent. One of us had grandparents that he still talks about wistfully. While the other has one grandparent left and she is tired of encouraging her to go into the light.

          Lee says: I’m a bitch! I know. Not news to me. I talk about my only living grandparent as if I wanted her dead. If this is the message you are getting I am better at communicating than I thought. Is this a nice way to be? No, but you can’t judge me unless you have walked in my shoes or are one of my siblings who, by the way, are much nicer than me yet still share my opinion.

          My grandmother was born and raised in Cuba. Back in the day, she was the head of the Neighborhood Goon Squad who monitored the behavior of all the neighbors. She was a communist and proud. My parents were always against the Castro regime and communism as a whole. Grandma was and has always been a fanatic. She is the kind of person who would have been put on a boat and kicked out of England. She’s a puritan, communist, Christian, self righteous, perpetual virgin who believes most people are doing it wrong.

          Sure she’s 87 and she was molded by her time but this level of arrogant virtue is out of control. She shared with us her warped opinions on sex (‘men have parts of the Devil’- guess which one). She gave us her take on race relations (‘I have no problem with black people, I had many black friends in Cuba but don’t dance with that black guy ‘cause he’ll rape you’). She gave us perspective when we felt good about ourselves (‘did you know your cousin is doing well in school’). She is an example of a good mother by demonstrating that denial makes you look better (‘Your aunt [her daughter] wasn’t an alcoholic’). In fact, most of the shit that she has said over the years has either fallen into the disregard pile or flushed immediately. At this point in her life she is slightly demented and just wants to chat about ‘remember when so-and-so went to cut cane’ crap that no one living can remember.

          I guess my point in saying this is that at some point soon (God willing), she will die. It is inevitable. Currently, her health is in decline due to a fall a few months back. She may have fluid in a lung, perhaps blood, has lymphedema on the same side that she had a mastectomy 25 years ago and she admits to feeling like her life is leaving her. The doctor gave her an appointment almost a month later to examine whether she has fluid in her lung. I told my sister that it appears that he hates her more than we do. And the truth is, I don’t hate her. I just don’t see her relevance and see her more as a disturbance. She never created a role in my life. She was an off-screen character that caused unexplained chaos (kind of like fate or the weather).

          I guess what I’m trying to say is Grandma will be dying soon and then I will have no grandparents. It would have been nice to have cool grandparents but that was not my fate. It better happen soon. I feel like a character in Monty Python’s Holy Grail bringing out my dead and she keeps saying ‘I think I’ll go for a walk’. I know what she can give me for Grandparent’s Day. I know, I’m a bitch.    

          Paul says : No, Lee is not the wistful one.

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