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Could I have done more for Grandmama?

It has been more than 25 years since my grandmother died. I still think of her often. I remember visiting her when I was really little, helping her snap peas on the back porch while singing K-K-K-Katy. She kept an immaculate house. Their realtor, when my grandparents sold their little house in Newnan, GA, said she’d never seen such a clean attic. Who cleans their attic?!

My grandparents moved to Venice, FL, for their winter years, to be close to Grandaddy’s brothers and their wives. They moved into a lovely double-wide trailer in a retirement trailer park off of Nokomis Ave., close to the citrus packing store. I think the street was Jacaranda. They spent many leisurely years going to “hamburgers” at the club house and to dinner with the brothers and sisters-in-law at the Picadilly Cafeteria. I visited often as a teenager, feeling a little funny as the only one at the pool under 80.

When Grandaddy died, my husband and I moved Grandmama to Orlando, where we lived. She was “crippled up” with rheumatoid arthritis and couldn’t really do her housework anymore. We moved her into a 3-story ALF on Delaney Ave. We had a little girl not quite 2 years old at the time and lived in a little house in Delaney Park 5 or 6 blocks away.

Grandmama lived in several ALFs and a nursing home during her time in Orlando. She was never happy in any of them. She wouldn’t have been happy living with us either. She should have stayed in her own home. If I had it to do again, I would have hired help for her in her home. She would have been difficult to please, but she would have been so much happier.

Sometimes, I ask her to forgive me for making the wrong choices about her life. I was very young and trying my best to be a good granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, and mother – lots of roles for a 27-year-old. I would have made different choices now. I would have done everything I could to allow her to stay at home, where she was comfortable and had wonderful memories.

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