My grandmother was a recluse.
For much of her middle and later years, she lived in a dilapidated house with my grandfather, and then alone after he passed away. Months went by before she’d bathe or change her clothes, and then always under duress or threat of another hospitalization. She was deep in her illness by the time I became aware that she was different from what my friends’ Mom-Moms were like.
As you can imagine, visiting my grandparents was a disturbing experience. There were no warm hugs, offers of cookies, or questions about school. Each week my mother brought her food, and my sister and I, forced to accompany her, would try hard not to touch anything.
Every few years a family member, usually my mother, arrived at her doorstep with a few of Philadelphia’s finest and off my grandmother went, kicking and screaming, for “treatment.” [Read more…]