Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
My grandmother is five hundred and ninety-two years old. Left to her own devices and the pitiless march of time this wonderful woman, who is actually my many times great grandmother, would have slipped away and into the finality of whatever the fuck death is five hundred years ago to this very day.
Its difficult for me to comprehend, but there are those in the world who don’t love their families. How content and relieved they must be as time it swallows the burden of age. But then, I am complacent. Not everyone is as filthy rich as we.
The money it took to develop the devices to snap our Nana away from the natural and over to synthetic cognition was as grotesque and it was well spent. It’s an ongoing syphon, but we’re family, we love her and it’s incomprehensible that we live this life with her no longer in it.
We implanted the electrodes that hang from her mind and through the wig that mimics the once tight white twist of her hair and fall as probing tentacles out of the sides of her face. How perfectly we caught that moment when she lost who she was, caught it and polished it and then handed it right on back.
This last Christmas we fitted her with an external drive, to store all the now countless names and birthdays and faces of her children and their children and their children’s children and theirs and theirs and theirs to come.
She once wrote a letter, when she still had fingers that wrote. She scrawled her name to a form and clearly she said that when her time it did come that no doctors should be called and that rather she thought to die in her room – surrounded by those that she loved.
But clearly her thoughts they were wrong.
Now as I walk down the hallway and the scent of the antiseptic hand-gel that I wring through my hands struggles to cancel the smell of bowels that involuntarily open and uneaten food that lays mashed in the cloche, I wonder.
Why, just why she would have wanted to end her life in this place? With these endless open doors that have forgotten about privacy and where the hollow cries of the lost they call out when all that they want is to go.
I’ve told her and told her there is no fucking reason for her to be in this place. That she could so easily exist for us in a great mansion of honed Scottish granite. But this is the one wish we allow her and strangely it warms, this the stark contrast of just how the poor they do suffer as they end and I am content as I enter her room.
There she is alone and many thousands of framed faces they plaster her walls and children’s art it hangs with them too. The crossword puzzle, its pages now yellowed and brittle, lays open on the tray at her lap, an unused remnant of the things she once did. And the rugby it loops on the screen.
I know she’d smile if only the muscles hadn’t long ceased to contract in her face and my heart again surges as her wail voice it croaks and begs from the hole in her neck.
“Don’t be silly Nana”, I say as I kiss her cheek and I know that she feels though her skin it swims behind plastic and she cries and she cries and I know just how grateful she is.
For Nana 1926-2018.