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I always looked up to my grandma. She was one of the people I wanted to be like when I "grew up." Mainly because she never did grow up. She was fun to be around; always singing to her favorite songs, dancing around, playing wiffle ball and frisbee with us kids, making cookies and eating dough while rubbing frosting on our noses... She was also the woman who inspired me to get to know God. In my eyes, she was as close to perfect as I'd ever see. As close to absolute bliss as I'd ever know... I never guessed how wrong I could be.
Last spring, I came home from play practice to find my dad home. Since my sister had basketball practice, I didn't quite understand, but I wasn't worried. So Brooke didn't go to practice one day? Not a big deal. Right? Wrong.
I got home and got on the computer to finish my English paper. Next thing I know my dad is rushing out the door saying he is taking my mom and grandpa sandwiches. Now i was confused... why would my mom be with Pa? Yeah, it's her dad, but she hadn't mentioned it and normally she would have taken my sisters and I to see my grandparents. Seeing my distress, my dad stops in his tracks and comes to stand near me. What he said next changed my whole life, my whole mind.
"Your Grandma Kathy is in the hospital." Needless to say, I freaked. I know, drama kid, being dramatic, nothing new, right? But this was different. I knew that it wasn't just a "she tripped and fell, but she'll be ok" sort of thing. This was obviously serious, and as soon as those seven words were uttered, my mind raced and thought of all the possibilities.... the one thing I didn't think of, was the one thing that had truly happened.
"Your grandma is sick. She has been for a long time, but she didn't want anyone to know. She has depression." Depression was a term I was familiar with. My other grandma had it, I'd known that since I was little; she acted different, was always grouchy, sad, angry, and critizing. From that grandma, I expected it, even accepted it up to a certain point, because it was her, I had never known her any other way.
"What?? How long has she had depression!?!?!" was the first thing that came to mind, but my mouth-to-brain connection wasn't responding, all I could do was stare at my dad and try not to cry.
"She stopped taking her medicine a few months ago. I'm not sure how long she's had depression, but she's had it for quite some time, and it's gotten worse. Today, she took over 17 sleeping pills. Her body couldn't handle it." I refused to accept the obvious at first. My grandma?? Try to commit suicide?? This must be a cruel, cruel joke... No, it was reality, MY reality. If I thought I was broken before, the next words cut my heart open more than before.
"She doesn't want to see you. Or your sisters. I believe your grandpa said she didn't want you guys to see her like this. She didn't even want you guys to know, but you deserve to know the truth, you're old enough and she's not going to be able to hide it forever." By this time, I was balling my eyes out... I cried till it seemed I could cry no more, than newfound tears would stream down my already soaked face. The taste of salt water filled my mouth as I tried to speak...
"Why??" was all I managed to spit out through my sobbing. "I'm not sure... but I have to go, your mom and grandpa are expecting me." I nodded and turned my face away.
All previous conceptions I had about my grandma, my inspiration, my hero, were changed. She was so upset, so unwilling to live, that she had tried to take her own life?! What could possess a person to do that? More importantly, why? Why, grandma??? was all I could think.
My grandma did eventually get released from the hospital. A few months later, she and I had a day together. It had been a long time since we'd had alone time, I was excited, I'd missed her, but I was wary. No, not wary, I was downright terrified. Would she still be my grandma?? Or would it be like a creature from area 51 had taken over her body and her life? It went pretty well, and I worried needlessly. We watched movies, did some crosswords, went shopping, and just had some girl time. I actually managed for forget the awful past for a while. I stayed the night and we talked Pa into playing a few rounds of dominoes with us. Then, bed time. Here was when all the memories came flooding back. I was crawling into bed and Grandma Kathy came in. "Hey, I'm sorry we haven't talked before, but we haven't really been alone.... I just want to know......... Do you hate me?" I automatically answered no. There was no other answer. Of course I still loved her. There was no other thought running through my head. I hugged her tight, and layed down in bed trying to sleep. When I finally did wake up in the morning, I found out that my grandma had a meeting with her therapist in a few hours time. I sat in the lobby for the hour and a half that my grandma was in the room talking. After that we went to Subway... All morning I had been fighting my thoughts of near-death and depression.... Sitting in Subway waiting on my mom to come pick me up, again my grandma asked "Do you hate me?" My answer was the same, it would never change. I would always love her. The next question was the one that I was even more afraid of. "You know that you can ask me anything. You deserve to know, I'll answer you truthfully... Do you have any questions for me?" I answered no. That was a lie. I had many questions, but only one really mattered to me. "Why?" It was also the one question I would never ask. I'm too afraid of the answer I might recieve. All I can do now if pray for her, help that God shows her hope and joy again, and love on her as much as I can.
But two questions still plagues me:
Why, Grandma?? and If given the chance, would you do it again?