It has been nearly a year since I have written a blog post, and to be honest I had forgot about my poor old blog for the most part and haven’t even glanced at it in months.
However, when my grandma past away just over two weeks ago my thoughts turned to it again. I had forgotten just how much I had written about her, but of the spattering of posts I have written over the past few years, almost all of them have been about her. As I read them over I was reminded of many of the moments I was privileged to have shared with her. I was also struck by one final grandma related post I felt it was important to write, because for me the one thing that made my three years of care-giving all circle back around at the end was grandma’s socks.
One of the first days after grandma moved in I looked at her feet for the first time. My grandma had always worn shoes or socks and I don’t think I had ever laid eyes on her bare feet until that day. I was shocked, feet of someone in their mid-eighties were very different than the feet I was used to looking at. I had never been repulsed by feet the way some people seem to be, but these feet were not something I wanted to be looking at.
However, as with many other aspects of care-giving, within days I had grown used to something that I had previously been uncomfortable with and soon taking care of her feet and her socks became part of my routine. She always wore socks during the day, but never liked wearing socks at night, so part of the bedtime ritual became taking her socks off.
Originally she took her socks off herself, and woke me up in the middle of the night once asking me to help her put them on, but over time she lost this ability, and I began doing it for her. I even developed a character named ‘Sock Girl’ that would fly around her room and for one of my birthdays Sock Girl acquired a cape. It was ridiculous and silly, and she would mockingly yell at me as I flew around the room, telling me to, “be still!”
She had her favorite socks, such as her yellow grippers that she got from one of her hospital visits. Her favorite were multi-colored eeyore socks. We would let her wear them (over a pair of white socks) for a couple of days in a row and at night they would have to be laid out on her dresser so that she would know where they were. It was never easy to clean them, we would try to wash them as soon as she went to bed so that they were ready by morning, but even then she would wake up at night and wonder where they were.
After she went to the nursing home her socks were always in a state of dishevelment. They were off when she was up during the day, on at night, half falling off, and she was past the point of being aware of of who I was, much less the state of her socks.
When she went to the hospital for the final time they put gripper socks on feet, apparently deciding she was a ‘fall risk’ even though by then she was never going to wake up again, much less stand up and walk.
Then hospice came. Hospice was a god send. The nurses cared for us as much as they did for my grandma those last few days. As I stood at her bedside a few hours before she died I lifted up the blanket covering her. From a medical perspective I was looking for all those end of life signs that were making themselves more obvious by the minute, but I also saw something else. She didn’t have socks on. Although in many ways her feet must have looked terrible, my only memory is that she wasn’t wearing socks. She was laying in bed for the last time and her feet were just how she always wanted them.