In the night from Sunday to Monday, my grandmother passed away. Now, this wouldn’t have taken up a whole entry if it was because she died of natural causes, or a typical disease old people tend to get. Fact is though, that she took her own life, all alone in the middle of the night, and that bothers me… a lot.
She had been talking about committing suicide for a while now, and thus she was staying at the hospital to keep her safe and taken care of. It was not a prison though, and she was allowed to leave whenever she wanted, which she decided to do for a week, when my aunt was in the country to take care of her in her own home. When she was sleeping, my grandmother drove away with a bottle of wine, and didn’t come back. When my aunt woke up the next day, and noticed her mom wasn’t in the house anymore, she called the police, who had found a body floating in the water in a nearby city.
No doubt it was my grandmother. She had alcohol in her blood, and her car was left unlocked near the shore. The police stated that no crime had been committed, so we’re left to believe, that she drove off to drink her last bottle of wine, and then drowned herself. She left a letter for each of her children, and that kind of says it all.
At first, I wanted to blame the hospital for letting a suicidal old woman go home, but my aunt was there for her, and it was not a prison, so who should I blame? Then I thought that no one was to blame at all. It was my grandmother’s own decision, and she has always been a woman in control, which she wanted to be until the very end. She’s been having heart problems the past few years, and could take less and less care of her huge house and three gardens. On top of that, she started forgetting things, which was maybe an early sign of dementia, something my grandmother would not want to live with. She was also diagnosed with depression, mainly due to her being more and more alone, since all her friends and neighbors were slowly passing away of old age.
So it’s not like I’m gonna ask “Why?”, as I already know why she did it. But I’m surely asking myself “Why now?”. She’s been granted her wish of getting a pacemaker for her bad heart, and was waiting for it. Also, she seemed to be okay with the thought of moving to another town, where she could live in a smaller house among other elderly people, some of them whom she already knew. Of course, that would require waiting for a vacant house, where she could eventually move in. So, did the waiting kill her? Probably…
I’m not saying that I accept her decision, but I do understand it. I know how hard it is to walk around with a depression, wanting to take my own life, because everything seems to be an endless struggle. I have someone to hold onto when that happens though, and things I can do to stay away from suicidal thoughts. My grandmother had my mom and my aunt who came to visit and help, but they were barely there during a normal day, especially since my aunt lives in London, and not here. Also, she was getting too old and fragile to even take care of her house, which was part of what she lived for.
I remember when I was a kid, and I told my mom “I won’t cry when grandma dies!”, she just said “Yes, you will”. She was right, and I was wrong. I’ve learned to understand why my grandmother was who she was. Why she sometimes did things I deemed as stupid and selfish. Why she said nasty things that hurt us. Why she was always nicer towards my aunt than my mom. I don’t agree with her actions, or the things she used to say, but I do understand them. She was simply from a different time, with different values and ways of treating other people. My mom was adopted, and my aunt was the only “real” child. This had always been the breaking point in the family.
Anyway, what I’m most afraid of now is the aftermath. I don’t know if my grandmother left a last will or not, but I surely hope so. I’m sure my mom and aunt will do their best to find out what is going to happen now, but I’m not so sure about my uncle. Yes, they also have a brother, and funny enough, he decided to get back in touch with the family after 25 years, when he heard about how weak his mom had become. This is a signal of greed to me, and of course to my aunt and mom as well. I just hope he won’t be able to mess things up, especially since the situation is already hard for anyone involved.
It seems to me, that every death drives the family apart…