Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Martina

The previous weekend I travelled to my rural home where I got to meet my paternal grandmother. My grandmother is called Martina. I don’t think anyone is quite sure of her age but it commonly assumed that she was born in 1910, which puts her at 101 years. There is however a strong suspicion that she was born slightly earlier but nobody is too sure. She often jokes that God has forgotten about her, that is the reason why she has not passed on while all her peers have moved on. She says that at times she tries to catch God’s attention so that God will go like, oh, she is still around! Then her days might come to pass.

Because I arrived late on a Saturday evening, I did not get to go to her house till the following morning. Her house is bare. There are a couple of seats in the living room and then an old bed in her bedroom. Nothing else. It looks like she does not own much and yet last year when I visit her she told me that she is very wealthy. This is because she has children and grandchildren who have made something out of their lives (though I have to admit some of us are a bit crooked and we have had our issues! ). At times I think that I don’t have much but when I look at her…

My Grandma, martina

About 17 years ago when I was preparing to go to college in distant lands, I went to see her to say my farewell. By then she was very weak and could hardly see and I believed that I was laying my eyes on her for the last time. Five years later when I came back, she could see quite clearly and easily recognized me. Her memory was still great and she walked around and even attended to the shamba. Now she can hardly see and cannot move on her own. Someone has to lift her from bed and once she has been set somewhere she will not move until someone carries her to another place. When I visited her the other week, she could not recognize me. Usually she’d hear my voice and quickly recognized ‘her husband’. Not this time. My mum spoke to her for about 5 minutes before she recognized her. My dad came in and just by speaking one word, she recognized him. Of course that’s her son.

I have asked myself whether I’d like to grow that old. Be in a state where all if not most of my current friends and relatives are gone, where I’d struggle to move and recognize my family…at times I tell myself no, but then recognize it is a blessing….

15 comments:

  1. Ah if we could all choose the time!

    I had a pact with my kids - when the time came just gently put a pillow over my head. The problem of course is my idea of whent he time comes may be very different from theirs.

    I am not sure I would like to be the last one left but I've still a long way to go until I reach your grandmother's age! 101 that is quite something.

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  2. jane.healy, I have always wondered what is considered a right time, though I don't think the pillow would be the right means regardless of the time!

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  3. This story touches me. My heart goes out to your grandma. How terribly it must be to have to rely on others for everything. And, then again, my perspective might be faulty for truly she is blessed that someone is there to help her.

    I've grappled with the issues you raise with my own dear mom who is only 75 and not 101. Mom is totally reliant on others now because she cannot walk. I thank God that there are ways to help her and that she is still here with us. I know sometimes she feels like your grandmother, that God has forgotten her.

    Whenever I think of issues like this I always remember that life and death are in the hands of God. He has set our appointments. That should be good enough for me.

    May you and your mother and father be blessed for not forgetting your grandmother and may you have another opportunity to bring her comfort and love before she goes home. Even though she didn't recognize your mother and you so easily, I'm sure she had joy to hear her son again.

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  4. Joyful, thanks a lot for your sentiments. You are right about the appointment, and she is always happy when her grandchildren come visiting from the big city! Sometimes I wish I could go there more often but...

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  5. It is a blessing and as you get older ( i'm in my 60s) you want to continue, to grow and to learn more and more. I blog 3 times a week, I used to do 5 but it was getting to hard to find what I thought was good material.


    http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/09/remembering-9-11-with-images-of.html

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  6. " reminds me of my grandmas - from both sides, they were strong in old age till health related issues set in, all the same old age is blessing. Somewhere in the Good Book, it talks about "living long to see your children’s children' your grandma is blessed.

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  7. Graceful old lady. Grandma's are just sweet. Toothless smiles and all.

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  8. Both my grandmothers lived to their mid-90s and were relatively in good health although towards the end their minds began to wander a bit...Like you,I'm not sure whether I'd like to live that long, but I do know they were a huge blessing to our family.

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  9. Corrine, Tulip & Project 44 - I agree with you, getting to old age is indeed a blessing. It is the only promise made to a commandment in the 10 commandments, as if respect your folks and you shall live to see old age! The downside is that all the modern gadgets will confuse you!

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  10. Blessing indeed. What you guys have is literally Living History. I mean that in the best way possible.

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  11. A centenarian in the family, cool!!
    Its kind to visit Grannys, so you are kind.
    It shows a caring attitude, are you considerate. hehe
    Well, about living to her age, the Good Book talks of obedience to parens being rewarded; living long... ;-)
    I wish to live that long.

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  12. Thanks Untonyto and Odhiambo for your visit and comments!

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  13. My mama often believes God has forgotten her. She is 86, I told her the last time she mentioned this to me that she is still here because there is still something she has to teach us all. Prayers to you and your family.

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  14. I like the way you have cultivated a bond with your grandma, we are always told to spend time with people we love often and they even forget about being forgotten by God :-D that's why we had to teach our gramps how to use the Phone!! I pray Martina regains her memory and can once again call you her husband :-)

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