Where Have you Been Part 2: Nana Bets

by Tabitha Kidwell

Another activity that has filled my time recently is spending time with my grandmother, Nana Bets. Last summer when I was deciding whether I should go to El Salvador or not, she was a major factor in my decision. My grandfather passed away 3 years ago, and since then, Nana Bets’ memory and functioning has decreased. She had basically stopped driving, was overdue for doctor’s appointments, hadn’t been eating much, and wasn’t getting out as much as she used to. I felt like I needed to spend a few months in Columbus with her to get caught up on all that and just spend time with her. I’ve gone over to her house every other day or so, gone to movies, brought food over, went to the hairstylist, took her to cataract surgery, and went to MCL more times than I can count. I’ve turned the heat back on after she accidently turned it off, got the microwave off of child lock, fastened her shoes, and taken her shopping. I’ve been surprised by her walking around he house naked. When she forgets how to do simple tasks, I find myself angry with this person who is no longer the independent, powerful grandmother I remember. It’s been time consuming, too– at times it felt like a part time job – but I feel really honored to be able to spend the time with her. When I was young, especially after my parents got divorced, this is basically what she did for us kids. She was always there for me, and now I can be there for her.

And it hasn’t been all me helping her. These six months have been rough for me, too. I have great friends here in Columbus that I did make plenty of plans with, but in the two years I was gone they got married, got pregnant, made new friends, started new relationships, and generally moved on with their lives. I don’t exactly fit here anymore, and I’ll be leaving in a few weeks to probably never live here again. So when I found myself without anything to do on a Saturday night, it was easy to push away any loneliness or self-pity by bringing over Panera and watching the Golf Channel with Nana Bets. It reminded me of Laura Linney’s character in Love Actually, the one with a mentally ill brother who called all day long. She was so consumed with that relationship that she couldn’t make any others. At a time in my life when it doesn’t really make sense to make new relationships, focusing my energy on Nana Bets helped sustain me. I know that she won’t be here much longer – in fact, and the Nana Bets I knew is already slipping through my fingers. Spending these months together has been a gift for both of us.

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