My 92-year-old Grandma Rise misses her home in Las Vegas. There’s no doubt about it. I can’t imagine living in one place for so long, then being forced to relocate to a rehab center some 120 miles away – never to see her home again.
But one of the nice things about her stay here in Albuquerque during the past 14 months has been the opportunity to meet and socialize with other people her age at the rehab center. She has made friends, and I love to hear my daughters and my dad talk about Grandma and her friends. If my dad took my Grandma a green chile burger, he had to also take one for one of her friends. My Grandma had to watch her intake of sweets, but every now and then, one of her friends would sneak her some ice cream under the dinner table, or they would exchange goodies like Cheetos. Sometimes they got caught, and my Grandma had to warn my Dad that he would get a call from the staff at the rehab center.
The sad thing about making friends at that age is you never know what’s going to happen. Last weekend, my Grandma’s friend, Juanita, passed away following complications after she fell and broke her hip. Another friend died last month. And that followed the death of my Grandma’s younger sister last fall.
I felt so bad when I found out about Juanita’s passing. I worry about my Grandma and how she will deal with the loss of her friends. I looked up Juanita’s obituary, and felt a loss for someone I didn’t even know. Juanita “Jennie” Rosa Hudson was also 92, a native of Cuba, N.M. and a lifelong resident of Martineztown in Albuquerque. “Jennie loved to meet people; she touched many lives and made many friends in the city over the years,” according to her obituary. “Her greatest joys in life were playing bingo, walking every day and riding the city bus. She also took great pride in tending to her flowers every summer and she especially loved her roses.”
One of Juanita’s last requests was for her daughter to give my Grandma a bag of Cheetos, which she did on Monday.