Thursday, April 23, 2009

We Interrupt This Broadcast...

The Bad Grandma regrets to inform that she is without Internet access and so is unable to post. Her Bad Daughter offered to take dictation over the phone, but unfortunately, TBG`s hearing aid battery was missing, due to temporary need in another motorized device, and so she didn`t get the message.

Regular Bad Grandma blogging will resume as soon as her computer is working again, or once her hearing aid battery is returned to its rightful place, whichever comes first.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why, God?

I haven't been able to write anything for almost a week. I have been emotionally spent. Yesterday I read my daughter's heartrending blog and my heart wept again - for the families of those precious little souls who were taken too soon, and for my family - for what is yet to come.

Every time I read or hear about the death of a child, or the pain and suffering of a child, or of a child who, because of a disease, will never experience the pride of graduating from school, the anticipation of a first date, the excitement of first love, the joy of marriage and children, the contentment of growing old surrounded by family, and dying in peace, I ask God why.

There are millions of people in this world who do not question God – I am not one of them.

I believe in God, in his only Son, in Mary and all the saints , but there are times when I am angry with God. My audacity scares me - but, there are things I can not accept unquestioningly, willingly or with thanks.

I cannot accept unquestioningly that God would give parents the precious gift of a child and then abruptly take His gift away.

I cannot accept it is God 's will that my beautiful, innocent grandson die slowly, piece by piece.

There have been many times during my life that I have felt His presence and been thankful for blessings received.

This is not one of those times.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lost Boy: My Story

My story starts with my mother. In 1942, my mother was 18 years old and dating my father. Mom got pregnant. My maternal grandparents were god-fearing farm folk, my paternal grandparents were quintessential British snobs. Both families were horrified that this scandalous behaviour had occurred in their family. Mom might as well have been branded. My obviously pregnant mother and my father scurried away in the dark and wed. Three months later I was born. My paternal grandparents never let my mother forget that their only son “had to marry her,” and as I was growing up it was obvious that I was still an embarrassment to them. They took my brother on vacations with them every year, they never forgot his birthday, they had albums full of family photos – just them and my brother. My maternal grandparents, on the other hand, got over it, loved me – spoiled me - and supported my mother 100%.

Throughout my adolescence, my parents closely monitored my social activities. In fact, on several occasions, my father followed me on dates. My mother lectured me endlessly on appropriate behavior with boys. I did not know, at that time, they were trying to protect me from experiencing their shame and family disapproval.

Fast forward to 1962: I was a very inexperienced 20 year old, madly in love with a dashing pilot, 22 years my senior and married. He was going to leave his wife and marry me. We ran off together. My parents did everything in their power to put an end to the relationship, but to no avail. I got pregnant – but he already had children and more children were not in his plan. My father wanted to have him arrested, and my mother began the nightmare of reliving her shame.

As soon as I began to show, my parents sent me to a home for unwed mothers. I was safely secreted away from relatives who would click their tongues and say “like mother, like daughter.” Double shame! I tried to kill myself while I was there. The pain and loneliness were unbearable. Neither Mom nor Dad ever visited me there; it was too painful for them. Several young women carrying illegitimate babies came and went during my three months there. All cried themselves to sleep every night. Occasionally, defiance would rear its head, and someone would say, it's not like we are the only ones who “did it,” we just got “caught,” and there would be murmurs of assent around the sunroom and for a few moments we didn't feel “cheap.” Those moments were rare.

I went into labor in on a beautiful July afternoon in 1963. The staff told me to call them when my pains were five minutes apart. I didn't have my mother or a husband there to support me, so I walked the gardens for five hours, by myself, because I didn't know what else to do. I was scared. When the pains started getting closer, the Home called my parents and then called a cab to take me to the hospital. I went to the hospital all alone. I delivered my beautiful son all alone.

I was told that, because I was giving my son up for adoption, I shouldn't see him because it would make it harder for me. I saw him. His perfect little face will be forever imprinted on my mind and the intense love I felt for my baby has never gone. That fierce love, that only a mother can feel, is why I had to give him up – I did not want him to bear the stigma of illegitimacy, the shame of having an unmarried mother and of not knowing his father. I wanted him to have everything I could not give him – respectability, two parents, a loving extended family and a life without shame. It was worth the pain.

I have not been able to search for my son, because I still weep when I relive his birth, seeing him and giving him up. Love hurts and I would not be able to take the pain of losing him a second time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cabin Fever And Strippers, Oh My

This has been a bad day, just the most recent in a series of bad days.

I need it to stop snowing, I need the temperature to rise above 0 degrees. I need the flowers to bloom. I need a self-cleaning house. I need to lose ten pounds. I need my husband to fuck off and take the cats with him. I need SPRING!!

At first I thought I was going through (God forbid) another phase – I mean, how many phases does a person go through in one lifetime. I have experienced childbirth, raising children, empty nest syndrome, divorces, grandchildren, menopause, and retirement. I figure I've just about run the gamut of transitional phases – so what is going on? Is it cabin fever or am I certifiable? I'm opting for cabin fever.

This condition is not treatable with wine. I tried that last night with a girlfriend. The best thing to come out of our foray into the vineyard was a funny story about my daughter that I had forgotten. My friend and I were swapping stories about life, love, old age, husbands, and male strippers.

I have never been to a place where there were male strippers but, many years ago my daughter brought one home. I got up one morning and there he was, sitting in my dining room! He wasn't your stereotypical stripper – he was quite scrawny, but as I was later informed by my daughter “they have ways of compensating for lack of physical presence.”** As I shared my male stripper story with my friend, the image of a scrawny protuberance with a rubber band almost sobered me up. We had another glass of wine.

Cabin fever can make you crazy.

** Ed. note: he wasn't a male stripper, exactly, and I hadn't exactly brought him home. I was 17, and he was a friend - a very gay friend - who had been kicked out of his home and who was working amateur strip nights at Vancouver bars to try to kick-start what he thought - mistakenly, given his build - would be a lucrative career. He was one of many strays I brought home. Mom only liked them if they were colorful. He qualified.