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08 July 2009 @ 01:50 pm
 
Well, I've been scarce 'round these parts lately.

First, the husband returned from Japan, and I've been busy spending time with him. It's been lovely having him home. :)

Also, over the holiday weekend, my maternal grandmother went into the hospital. She's 83 (84 at the end of July), and she's been having small strokes for a couple of years now. The last one made talking much more difficult for her. And then, sometime in the week before the holiday, she apparently had a heart attack. Breathing became so difficult for her, that Grandpa called an ambulance, and the doctors pretty much said her body's shutting down on her, and all we can do now is make her comfortable. I visited her twice while she was in the hospital. My Mom came over and all the kids and grandkids and great-grandkids have been around. Hospice has been called in, and now she's at home, where family is still putting in regular and rotating appearances.

My sister came down from Portland, and has been staying at the house since yesterday morning. I went for two hours this morning, and I wished I could have stayed longer. Grandpa is hyper aware of everything that happens with Grandma, and at the same time, he's trying to find distractions so he doesn't have to think about the fact that his wife of 63 years is dying.

Here's the story of how they met:

When Grandpa was young, he was in the military, at the base up in Alaska, where Grandma and her family lived. Every Tuesday night, the service men would go see a movie with the town girls. Grandma did not go with Grandpa. She went with "some other fella", who Grandpa still refers to in less than complimentary terms, to this day. But she and Grandpa spent enough time together, that when Grandpa left the service at 22 and went back home to Kalamath Falls, Oregon, he left Grandma with his number and where he lived.

A few weeks later, she hopped a train with a one way ticket, and went to Kalamath Falls. When she got into town, she called him up and said "Well, I'm at the train station. You better come get me!" And Grandpa went and picked her up, and drove her to get a marriage license. They were married very shortly thereafter. She was twenty.

I love that story. :D

Apparently, Grandpa isn't eating. That is, he isn't eating unless someone brings food over, and then he feels he has to. I'm going to make something for dinner tonight, and bring it to the house for him and everyone else who might be there. Me, my sister, probably some Aunts and Uncles and a couple of cousins. It's really strange. As sad as the situation is, there's also this...happiness around the house. Like you can feel the love when you're there, and Grandpa's putting together some old toy for the great-grandkids to play with, and everyone's catching up on each other's lives around the kitchen table, while people go in and quietly spend some time with Grandma. My grandfather hugged me, and it almost made me cry, how hard he held on. There's this real bittersweet feeling in the air, and it's a completely different experience from the shock of my Dad's death. It's sort of like we're celebrating her life and mourning her death all at the same time.

I have no idea what I'm going to make. Spaghetti would no doubt be easiest for that large of a group, but I kind of want something with a little more nutritional value to it, as well. My Grandpa has really enjoyed talking with Mark in the past, so Mark is going to come and spend some time there before class tonight, and then I'll stay on for the rest of the evening when he goes home. I'm really looking forward to it, and at the same time, it makes me sad.
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meandering: Base - Ride along the shoreeffervescent on July 8th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful story, really. Stories like that always make me smile, especially when it's about couples that have been together so long.

♥ I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I'm glad that your family is able to be together and share their love with each other.
Patron Saint of Pessimismwoodrunner on July 8th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. It sounds like she's surrounded by a very solid and loving family.

That's a very wonderful story about how they met and got married -- definitely love from the first sight.
L.A.frenchroast on July 8th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Aww, that's a great story. :)

Sounds similar to how my family reacted when my grandfather was dying this past Christmas--sad, but thankful we were together and able to appreciate him and be there for our grandmother.

What about vegetable soup? I've got a super easy recipe. I made it for the family back in December for similar reasons. Plus, soup heats up really nicely as leftovers.
Ingredients
• 1 pound (or more) ground beef
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped/minced (or you can cheat and use garlic powder)
• 1 medium (vidalia preferably)onion, chopped
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 15 oz can navy or cannellini beans (or black-eyed peas)
• 1 15 oz can kidney beans
• 4 carrots, sliced/diced however you want, just not too thick
• 2 zucchini or 3 yellow squash, sliced/diced your way
• 1 stalk celery, sliced
• 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
• 2 16 oz cans petite diced, diced, or stewed tomatoes
• 4 cups beef broth
• 2 tablespoons herbes de provence if you have it, if not, any combo of thyme, marjoram, sage, basil, and/or oregano will do
• 1 teaspoon parsley (if you don't have it, it's not a big deal)
• soy sauce, black pepper, and salt or garlic salt to taste
About 3 cups of egg noodles (or heck, any noodles you like in soup)


Directions
Brown ground beef with garlic and onion in oil in a large soup pot. If you don't have beef stock/broth on hand, just add 4 cups water and let the beef simmer for a hour to create the flavor you want. If you do have beef stock, skip the water/simmering step, or do it with less water for a shorter amount of time.

Add the cans of beans and all remaining ingredients except noodles.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Taste, season as needed. The soy sauce will help give it a meatier taste. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Add the noodles about 10 minutes before you take the soup off the heat, or however long the noodles need to be boiled for in order to be soft. You can always omit the noodles, but they really make the dish. Pasta alphabet letters are also great for this soup, as is gemelli.

Serve with biscuits or bread, maybe add a little shredded cheddar or parmesan on top if you want to get fancy. You can always add more cans of beans/tomatoes, just remember to add more spices and garlic. But that should make quite a lot.
-peartreealley on July 8th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
I wish I had something more useful to say. It's sad and happy and beautiful, all at the same time.

Edited at 2009-07-08 11:26 pm (UTC)
Ambassador of  Awesome: hug a goldfishamphetamine_47 on July 9th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Oh, honey, I'm sorry :(

That is an ADORABLE story, though!