Maybe you want to know if I cried?
23 April – Waiting For Grandmother to Die
We’ve called the ambulance and they picked her up like a sack of potatoes and put her in a wheelchair and tied her well. I helped them carry the chair into the ambulance.
The doctors sent her back home nine hours later. Her eyes turned from blue to gray. She couldn’t speak anymore. Cancer destroyed her lungs and liver.
I sat beside her bed and held her cold hand. I wanted to tell her about Oliver Colors, but I didn’t. She will never know about him.
I also wanted to ask her about my father’s real father. My grandfather is my father’s stepfather. Some things are better left unsaid though.
I smothered my grandmother with the pillow. In my imagination. Like the protagonist in the French film Amour (Love) by Michael Haneke did to his wife after going through great pains to take care of her. To save her the suffering. And to end his torment.
24 April – Grandmother Died Today
She moaned softly all night. Mother, grandfather, and I slept in another room. Grandfather snored. Mother and I checked on her from time to time. We expected her to last at least one or two weeks more.
Around 5:30 AM she made some worrying sounds and me and mother went to her and heard a gurgling sound in her mouth, the ‘death rattle.’ Mother looked quite worried. But I did not lose my calm. As grandmother died I held her hand and kept my other hand on her forehead.
The belly moved after she stopped breathing. I closed her eyes and tried to close her mouth too, but it kept opening.
For about an hour we were not sure if she really died. But I checked her pulse and listened to her heart and confirmed her death. I was quite composed. I suppose life in a shadowy attic has made me tough.
Grandfather was moderately sad and somewhat relieved. He talked incessantly all day about trivial matters, few of them related to my grandmother. He seemed glad to have gotten rid of her. I would have liked to punch him once or twice, but I did not. Solitude shall kill him, poor fool.
25 April – We Buried Grandmother
I did not know that there are funeral services that take care of all the practicalities, from moving the body in the coffin to registering the death at the town hall and bringing you back the papers. And they are not too costly either.
In Romania funerals are a jumble of customs ranging from the silly to the absurd. The Church service is dull, the gravediggers impudent, the mourners a strange assortment of people, many of whom the family of the deceased has not seen in years.
The funeral was poorly attended, partly because grandfather did not want to tell too many people about it – probably because he wanted to cut expenses – and partly because grandmother was a withdrawn person and did not have friends.
So no, I haven’t wept. I felt like weeping several times, but I held my tears back. The funeral was farcical and I did not want to cry in front of strangers. I wept a little after I got home. I don’t feel shocked, or too sad. I loved my grandmother, but we’ve never been on the same frequency.
During the funeral someone remarked that I am much like her. I’ve observed grandmother over the years, and we share many gestures and expressions and patterns of behavior. I’ve inherited many of my quirks from her. I’m her only descendant left alive now. She lives in me.