I'd like to do this in order to help me through the recent death of my grandmother. Read if you'd like, but this is mainly for my benefit.
Her life eluded her in her sleep somewhere between the night of February 14 and the morning of February 15, 2012.
She was my grandmother, and we called her Baba. Her name was Theresa Pochekailo, of Ukrainian descent.
She lived in a nursing home on the second floor. The extended-stay floor. In other words, they didn't really expect you to leave if you lived there.
It's been three years since the stroke that landed her there. She was paralyzed on her right side and was unable to talk very much. I remember, though, that she was very capable of saying "no," especially to the softened stuff they fed her. Cue sad half-smile.
Other than that, she was able to slur through our names. "Wyeeeuh" for me, Leah. "Gwroriuh" for her daughter and my mother, Gloria. "Bem" for my brother, Ben. She never said my dad's name; he rarely visited. We were always half-suprised when she recognized us and our name with a cue from my mother. She had Alzheimer's before her stroke, so we didn't expect much to be left of her mind.
We knew that sometimes people recover from strokes, but after a while, everyone in my family secretly knew that our Baba wouldn't. The shared but at the same time unshared knowledge always hung around in the air like a bad odor when we visited her. We didn't know where it came from, but we knew it was there, and tactfully kept it to ourselves.
So now it's all over. The visits, the talking to her but not with her, the watching her slowly deteriorate over the three years at the home.
I suppose it's okay to be happy for her that she's finally out of that place.
How long was she gone when they realized she was dead? How long was her corpse lying in her bed?