I have a very weird family tree. I am adopted so I have the branches of Mom and Dad. I suppose my branch and that of my siblings are grafted onto that tree.
I found my biological mother 12 years ago and with her a half sister whom I adore as well as a grandmother whom I've only met once, 5 years ago. We were a little worried about telling her that I found them. I am the 'bastard' grandchild that was given up after all. I represent failure on a large scale.
My sister is Anita and in the past two years she's had a heck of a burden to bear. Our grandmother Margaret and Margaret's husband (not our grandfather) have been declining in health. Anita managed to get the husband moved to a VA hospital near Tucson (they were in Las Vegas) and got Margaret settled in the house next door to her (how's that for convenience?).
Anita had to place Margaret in hospice care last week. The doctors are only giving her two more months. She is in liver and renal failure as well as retaining fluids. She is also in the not so early stages of congestive heart failure. There are lucid moments and moments when she 'wants to put a brownie in her ear' and will tell you so.
While Anita's mother also lives in Tucson, I believe Anita is handling most of the care as well as working full time and dealing with her own health issues.
Needless to say I'm going to Tucson this week. One to see Margaret while the lucid moments are more than the demential ones; two to see my sister and try to help as much as I can for the short while I can be there for her.
I am taking Cliff with me, since he is a therapy dog and the place that Margaret is in encourages animal visits. Perhaps he'll help make some of the other people there feel better too.
It seems like so very little though. While I consider Anita my family, I do not consider our mother nor our grandmother the way everyone else sees their mother and grandmother. They didn't raise me (thank goodness - story for another time), but the sense of obligation is still there.
So the her I'm going to be there for is three fold - for Anita because she's done so much, Margaret because she did say she'd like to see me, and me because I feel this is something I need to do.
I leave Thursday morning and will be back the following Monday.