Imagine that you found 80 year old journals. Imagine they were the journals of someone you love. Now imagine what the experience of sharing those journals with them would be like. That’s what this is.
What you see here are my grandmother’s journals. The journey I’m taking with my 99 year old grandmother starts with the first post titled “Prologue.”
I help to take care of my grandmother, Babu. A little while before we were married I moved in with my husband, who had already been care taking for Babu. Although we have been high school sweethearts since my Freshman year, he was hesitant to pull me in to a care taking situation which he knew could never be easy and would only get exponentially harder. I understood, but didn’t bat an eyelash. Feeling every ounce that she is my family, too, it didn’t take much for me to realize I have no other living grandparents and this is my chance to make up for missed opportunities with my own grandparents. Thus far, the only thing that has been easy about helping to take care of her is her.
My grandmother and I talked enough times about her journal that I finally asked my husband to dig them up. Ever since then, with her permission, I have been transcribing them, sharing the passages with her, and writing and posting about them.
It has been as slower process than I imagined and I want to take the time to explore with her – and drag her away from the doom and gloom newspaper for as long as I can – but I’m in anticipation for certain events and I can’t wait to meet certain characters, one especially.
The act of sharing what she wrote with her has been charming, mind bending, and bonding. There are certain passages I don’t look forward to sharing with her, or even reading myself. But this is what a chronicling of a life asks of us.
This blog is about more than insights and a view of history gleaned through her diaries. It’s about the relationships, sacrifices, and love that go into being a caretaker.
***Update: Babu is now 100 and some things have changed even though her health is mostly still amazingly strong. Her memory and thought processes are struggling a bit these days and I can no longer share her diary passages with her without causing her distress. One of the problems is she is very frustrated that she cannot remember much. She remembers Zosh, and of course, she remembers Jake. That is another part of the problem. Any talk of the past brings her to thoughts of her late husband and puts her into a disturbed state. It is unfortunate that something that used to bring her a lot of joy is something we can no longer do. Even so, there are many reasons to go forward with the project. I cherish her, her memories, and the memory of all the people involved in her life, in large ways and small, that she wrote about in her daily reflections.