Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Bea’s brain has been a bit foggy these past few days, so I decide to prepare her for the big news of my grandchild’s birth with a quick family rundown:

Take 1:
“Do you remember the names of my children?

“Stephanie. Natalie, and …” There’s a long pause. Then Bea says slowly, “Martha.”

I drop the subject and return a half hour later.

Take 2:
“Remember Stephanie who came this weekend? Stephanie, your granddaughter?”

“Stephanie, yes.” Bea is obviously searching through her mind to match the name with a face.

“Then, there’s Natalie.”

“Natalie,” Bea repeats, less sure of whom her dear Natalie is.

“And who is my third child, the one named after your husband?”

Bea ventures a guess: “Paula?”

Take 3:

“You know my son Paul who lives in California?”

Bea looks confused, so I show her a life-size photo of Paul and his wife Nathalie.

She peers at it and nods. “Is she his wife?”

“Yes. They just got married.” Since this news seems to register, I continue. “Last night they had a baby.”

“What a lovely thing to do! Now let me sleep.”

Take 4:

At lunchtime, Sven comes into Bea’s room where I stand by her bedside with a bowl of yogurt.

“Congratulations,” he says. “You’re a great grandmother.”

Bea nods. I am about to conclude the news has finally sunk in when she asks, “Are we doing anything special today?”

Take 5:

Bea’s regular nurse is on vacation. Diane replaces her. "Hello, Bea," she says.

"The name is Beatrice," declares her patient and pretends to sleep.

“It’s a big day, here, Diane,” I say in a loud voice, knowing Bea will be listening. “My son Paul and his wife Nathalie had a baby girl last night. Bea is a great grandmother.”

“Why, congratulations!” Diane exclaims.

“I’m a grandmother?” Bea asks, opening her eyes.

“A great-grandmother,” I say.

“Well, I hope I’ll be a GREAT great-grandmother …”


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