Judith watched as the rain pattered down outside her window. Well, not her window, technically, the hospice owned it – but they were doing her the awfully pleasant service of giving her food and a bed to sleep in, all for free! Oh the glories of being aged, nobody expects you to pay for anything anymore. No, all the bills go to the family, somewhere down the line. This bothered Judith for a while – she was a hard working lass after all, she didn’t need looking after, she had money saved it could come out of that account – but her family would have none of it. The young can always outshout the old in the end. Of course it helps when the old one in the situation can’t leave her bed, forced by her failing muscles to lie statuesque under sheets, ghastly tubes running in and out, removing waste and replacing it with the next set of medicines and treatments that supposedly made her life easier. Judith couldn’t see how; she was still stuck in this bed. But she had been assured by multiple doctors that this will make her life easier, make it better. Sure, doc, sure. Tell me when you have a drug that actually lets me move, then we can chat.
Judith sighed. She supposed she should be grateful. She was alive wasn’t she? And her family was being awfully generous, paying for all her expenses like this. It was ungrateful of her to want more. But it would be nice if one of them would come by and talk with her. A proper talk, not the same old weekly “how you feeling? I’m sure this or that pain will pass. Maybe soon the doctor will take you out in the wheelchair outside wouldn’t that be fun!” All that combined with the same old pitying looks, eyes that for all the faux positivity coming out of the mouths showed the true bored sympathy they felt – like looking at a child that was crying about nothing in particular. Oh sure they felt sad about it, but they had lives to be getting on with and it would be really nice if they could leave soon and get back to the hustle and bustle.
But she wasn’t a child. Oh she understood why her family behaved as such – she did when she was young, god knows, everyone did really – but it was infuriating to be treated in such a way now she was on the other side of it. She had lived, lived more than any other member of that family. Heard more, seen more, experienced more. She’d had the highs of drink and drugs, and the lows of the hangovers and the work the next morning. She had felt the joys of love and seeing new life, and the despair of heartbreak and loved ones deceased. She had been born into a different world, and grown as the world transformed itself. She’d seen the world tear itself apart in the flames of war, just to stitch itself back together and change, so rapidly and vividly, into something she barely recognised. She had seen TVs make their debut, the rise of computers; she’d lived in an age where saying the sentence “I just got a text on my mobile” would have got you many strange looks. She was not the same as a new-born child, starting to make their way in the world. She was an encyclopaedia of history, a view into different times, different ways of living. People could learn from her, be taught by her. She was extraordinary.
And yet to most she was just Grandma. The poor, sickly old soul that we should really stop by to speak to every so often, to make her feel better you know?
It was so fucking unfair.