Granny Molloy

A bit of a shit start to the week.  My sister called my landline yesterday.  I know well enough that that’s the international call of distress.  So I immediately asked her what was wrong.

I wrote this in December:

There was only a sparse smattering of my family there, but it was good nonetheless.  My uncle Brendan was there, and he is my favourite family member due to his endless sarcasm.  His daughter, my cousin, who is now not so new yet feels so to me, was practising for the acting career that doubtless awaits her by sprinting around the house and roping us all into playing hide and seek.  I spent most of the time skulking in the kitchen with my cousins and siblings, smoking a faaaaaaaaaag and sneaking Kimberly Mikados when no one was looking.  My cousins Brendan, Ciaran and Eibhlinn were there as well sipping Tennants and white wine that my granny insisted we have.

My granny is a wonderful woman; if I had a role model it would be her.  She’s self deprecating, independent, eccentric and straightforward.  When we sat by my dad’s grave she told me that she didn’t believe in god (an admission that Catholic grandmothers are not renowned for…) but still hoped there was a hell so Ian Paisley could burn in it.  (She is, unsurprisingly, also a staunch Irish Republican, along with the rest of my family.  We have the 1916 Proclamation of an Irish Republic in our house).

My granny, in her pimping "Elizabeth" necklace

She’s eighty three but will probably live forever.  My granny fell over washing her feet in the kitchen sink, for reasons unknown to me.  The kitchen sink in my granny’s house is strangely a place that makes me smile; with uncharacteristic enthusiasm, I used to delight in standing on the chair doing the dishes.  I resent doing my own. I checked out the cupboard in the kitchen that used to house coal and, once, a dead, spindly legged turkey, but this year there was no coal, nor deceased birds.

I was wearing my white coat, made from real Teddy Bear fur, and my granny told me she had a coat upstairs I’d like.  She took me into her bedroom and pulled a long, black (fake) fur coat out of her wardrobe and handed it to me.  She said my dad had bought it for her twenty years ago.  I smelled it, as you do with old things in the hope for that intoxicating fragrance that second hand bookshops are the church of, and it didn’t smell of age, it smelled like perfume.   I tried it on, and aside from being long in the arms, it fitted me.    I gave her a hug and thanked her.  It’s nice to own something that my dad had touched, he feels so far away sometimes.  Before I left with it, though, my granny tried it on and it drowned her, which was strange.  I still think of her as a tall woman.

She’s been in hospital for a little while due to an overdose of painkillers.  No, not intentional; her arm was hurting and she was popping painkillers to asuage the pain.  Her liver protested, and there she was.  She also had gallstones, and she didn’t know it.  How someone doesn’t know they have gallstones is lost upon me.  From the frenzied whispers on the grapevine the pain is akin to passing a calcified child.

What she also has is inoperable stomach cancer.  So apparently she won’t live forever.

According to my sister Paula (who I want to win the lottery for, though I should probably start playing it), my granny is fine, just pissed off that there was nothing wrong with her before she entered hospital and now there’s a lot of things that are wrong with her.

The doctors are talking to the family on Friday to see what, if anything, can be done.   She’s old, though.  Granny is old, which should be the most obvious statement ever, but it isn’t.

I’m one of those lucky people who has had grandparents into my twenties, so I know them, as people.  They haven’t just been the people who’ve given us sweet money over the years.   I was close to my granda Kane, who died last year, and I adore my granny Molloy, we all do, in fact.  She’s my dad’s mum.  It always bothers me when it’s said that the tragedy of dying, of illness, is its youth.   I guess that’s because old people die of natural causes and have lived their lives but it is still a tragedy, still a life coming to an end.   My granny’s talked about dying before, and I think she’s okay with it, but I never have been!  I just didn’t anticipate an end for her, I thought she’d be here for ages.  Hopefully, she still will be.   So many of our childhood years in her house.  All our Christmasses.

When you know someone, it’s easy to put yourself in their shoes, and if you do that when they’re ill, or might die, it’s unbearable- selfish but unbearable.  I know I feel a different way to my granny but I don’t want her to be scared.

At times like this I hate living in London.  It’s difficult when these things happen to not have the means (especially in the midst of moving and being fleeced)  just to drop everything and go home.   I am crossing my fingers that nothing sudden happens anytime soon.  I never got the chance to say goodbye to my grandads, didn’t really get the chance to say goodbye to my dad.

(My family have always said that they were grateful that I called the ambulance, because it meant we got to say goodbye.  Otherwise, one of us would have found him dead at home.  But by the time I got there, he was dying.  I thought it would be days, and it was hours.  I don’t even know if he knew I was with him).

Then there was Brendan, not a family member but best friend, and of course, he just died and there was the reminiscent act of deciding to call the police.  Just-no more.

I might be being premature.  She does seem fine at the moment.  I just wish I could be there, if even to support my family.  I feel helpless over here.

I’m just sad.  My granny is a completely wonderful woman that I don’t think any of us are ready to lose.

18 Responses

  1. I’m sorry to read about your gram. I hope she pulls through this ok. She sounds like a special woman.

  2. Sorry to hear about your granny, I remember reading about her in december and thinking she sounded a lot like my own grandmother. Hope she gets better soon.

  3. I know what it’s like – my gran died over 12 years ago but my grandad is still here at the age of 78: after a tumor,2 hip+knee replacements, as well as a serious eye problem and gluacoma. We had to move down south due to my dads work when I was 8 and my had just gran died.

    My fathers family have mostly died of late apart from a estranged sister in Cape Town [SA] but my mums Grandad [Ron] is keeping going and even drives 2 hours to see us. We see evertime he comes down to see us a little bit of him is growning older and there’s nothing we can do [we have even mentioned moving him here but he won’t have it! bless him]

    So we watch and I personally wait til we get the dreaded call we’ve had before that somethings gone wrong.

    I really hope your gran keeps going and I’m sure she knows that your always thinking of her [hope thats not too personal a comment].

    Keep well and keep safe and the same to your Gran.

    Miss Fable

  4. thanks.

  5. I hope your gran stays with you for as long as possible. You sound like two peas in a pod – you must have inherited your indomitable spirit from her.

    My gran is poorly too so I really feel for you, Seaneen. I hope things turn out okay.

    I shall pray to my imaginary God for your gran. (I know you’re both atheists, but if it won’t do any good it won’t do any harm either.)

  6. Seaneen…
    I’m really sorry and I agree…it doesn’t matter how old someone is if you love them when they die….

    You might want to find out how aggressive her cancer is. This is something one of her docs should be able to answer. Exact prognosis are impossible with cancer but a general sense of the aggressiveness of the cancer can be assessed realistically and then you’ll have a better sense of how much time you have.

    I can tell you having lost my brother to cancer a little over a year ago it meant so much to me to be able to spend time with him before hand…

    granted sometimes that sort of thing is simply not possible, but I do hope you find a way to spend some time with her.

    love to you,

  7. (Hug)

  8. My memories of my Grandparents are much-treasured. They are the Sweet-Givers without the scolding responsibility of being parents, so they almost seem like really old, wrinkly mates. My Grandad had cancer for years before he died (kept going to hospital now and then for mini-ops to keep it at bay) – hope similar happens for your Gran x

  9. I’ll keep her in my thoughts Seaneen and your family… I can relate to the some of what you said. My mum went into hospital with one thing last November, 4 months later she’s still there with a whole bunch of other issues, she seems to have gone from bad to worse with one thing after another… take care x

  10. I’m sorry to hear about your gran. Much positive thoughts being sent. Take care.

  11. *hug*

    I thought my 89 year old grandma was going to die last year. She got pneumonia and lost consciousness and the infection consumed her to the bones. She had to be taken to the ICU. From my own experience, people who are taken to the ICU, especially old people, have little chance to go back out in one piece.

    However, she made it through. Strong antibiotics and heart medications and, in what it seemed to an eternity, she fought the infection and won. I had never faced the imminent death of a loved one until my grandma. I thought I wanted to implode. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her. I still do. She’s 89, after all. She’s fine now but things can happen.

    I hope you and your granny get to spend some more time together.

  12. Thank you, chaps. And I’m sorry Gianna and MF. Nessa, hope your granny sticks around.

    Find out today what the score is. Nervewracking.

  13. granny molloy rocks like a mofo. going to see her today ill send your love xxx

  14. I remember your quoted post very well because I liked the image of you washing up, standing on the chair.

    I’m sorry you’ve had such bad news. She does sound remarkable.

  15. […] blown out of the water by the news that my granny Kane has just died.  No, not even this granny, Granny Molloy, who is hanging on.  The other one, which was somewhat unexpected to me as I didn’t know the […]

  16. Same with my great Gran, Great grandad passaway 2 years ago at the age of 86 and my gran is still going strong.

  17. […] and he makes me extremely happy. I am excited about getting up in front of my family (alas, Granny Molloy-less, she is too frail to come, and minus my dad) and friends and saying, “THIS ONE HERE, I […]

  18. […] and he makes me extremely happy. I am excited about getting up in front of my family (alas, Granny Molloy-less, she is too frail to come, and minus my dad) and friends and saying, “THIS ONE HERE, I […]

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