Aug 27, 2010

I just crossed the Catawba in the wrong direction, leaving my nana high and dry on the other side. We just spent a few days visiting in and around her room at the nursing home. Crossing the river, I heard a snippet from John Mellencamp's just released "No Better Than This" album and was reminded of when I heard Mellencamp talking with NPR's Teri Gross in '09 after he released "Life Death Love & Freedom." He was talking about the inspiration behind "Longest Days" where he writes "Life is short, even in its longest days," the exact opposite sentiment I had as I left Nana at the nursing home.
Mellencamp, 12 years prior to writing the song, had been to see his 100 year old Nana who had asked him to crawl up in bed with her to snuggle and visit. She prayed with him and told God that she and Buddy (Mellencamp) were ready to "come home." Mellencamp interrupted her and told her that he is only 45 and therefore not quite ready to "go home." And she said, "Life is short, even in its longest days." But what grabbed me now was how his Nana asked him to crawl up in bed with her.
And I thought, with piercing grief, how my Nana never had that level of self-esteem to ask someone for what she wanted. Besides self-esteem, there is a certain level of expose' when you ask for what you want. A glimpse of your personality is revealed, made vulnerable, open to judgment, criticism, rejection. But asking for what you want is also an invitation to enter your secret world. And those are the two crops I long to harvest when I visit my Nana.
  • A glimpse of her personality
  • An invitation to intimacy

When I visit Nana, I cloddishly issue her several options: Want to go for a walk outside? Play a game? Watch TV? Can I bring you lunch from a restaurant? Nana will never proactively offer a suggestion or request. She would never say "Crawl up in bed me with me" or "Can you wheel me to the window?" or "Could you bring me the framed picture on my nightstand at your mom's house?"
I long for a glimpse of Nana's personality. Does she hate the color gray? Does she want to know what's coming up for lunch? Does she miss driving? Did she ever play a song over and over and over and over? Has she ever thrown something at someone? Has she ever wanted someone to crawl up in bed with her? Because I would. I so would.


Sweet Fiend said...

I love you. <3 This is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I couldnt have said it any betta!!

Thanks so much for coming up!!

Poof said...

Thank you, Jaime, it was cathartic and heart breaking on many levels.