Grandma didn’t know who I was today. She has been calling me Laura for quite some time, and I shrugged it off as just the wrong name coming out. Like when she said she was looking for her shoe in the cupboard, but I knew she meant the sweetener. Today, though, I realized she actually thinks I’m Laura, her sister’s granddaughter/daughter. Laura’s mother was really young and she was raised as if her grandmother was her mom.
Grandma said to me, for the millionth time, “I wish your mommy could have met the baby.” (And of course it’s like a little stab wound every time she says it, so matter of fact but wistful.) Then she said, “Well, I’ll just call her your mommy. She was like your Mommy.” I was totally bewildered… is she confused that mom’s death negated her status as my mother or something? And then she went on to say something about her sister J and I said, “No, Grandma. I’m V’s daughter. Heidi.” She furrowed her brow and said, “Well, I thought you were J’s. My mind…” Later she said “I keep wanting to call myself your Grandma, can’t imagine why…” and when I left she called me her niece.
I cried all the way home. Almost pulled over to just sob. I just didn’t think she’d really be that confused so soon- and now I’m not sure how long she’s been not seeing me-me when she sees me. The fact that all the talk about Mom was maybe not about my mom hurts me too, really badly. And a little kid selfish part is really hurt that I’m the first one she “forgot.”
Every sadness and frustration and worry with Grandma opens up my grief about mom and it feels fresh and agonizing all over again. I’m convinced that she’d fix it all. She’d magically know what to do, if she was around with me Grandma would know I belong to her. That’s what hurts- less that I’m “not Heidi” and more that I’m not associated with mom in her mind. I had prepared myself to be called V and for that to be strange and sad; I assumed she might confuse me with mom as she ages. It never ocurred to me that I’d be confused with a cousin whose face is blurry and unfamiliar in my mind.
I crazily thought, it’s my hair. She doesn’t know me with short hair. God, should I grow it out? Ridiculous. Then I laughed at myself. I’m pretty recognizable physically. Laura does not, in case you wondered, have a nosering and half a right arm.
I haven’t told my aunt yet. She’ll either be worried or she’ll have already figured out that she thinks I am Laura as oppossed to just thinking I’m named Laura. If she confuses Aunt P, it’ll upset her so much- this is her mom.
She flooded the kitchen again, and cleaned it up herself! When we got there she was mopping up soapy water, and I was shocked she hadn’t fallen. Her washing machine has a big sign on it now, “Don’t Do laundry. Heidi will be here Wednesday and Sunday to do it.” I don’t know if we can let her stay home or not. It’s such a conflict my brain just stops.
I’m wiped out. Too sad to feel sad. Exhausted. I let the baby sit in a bath until she was freezing. Never thought to check she was warm enough. Granted, she fussed and whined finally when she was starting to have chatter teeth but I felt like an asshole. Now Bu wants me to amuse myself, find something fun, relax. Guess what, Bu? Nothing’s fucking fun when you feel like this. Nothing. And I don’t want to watch you play San Andreas Grand Theft gangsta rap bitch killa aggro bullshit on a good day. Why on God’s green earth would you ask me to do that?