Lena was twenty years old when she was called to a family council with a disturbing topic.
Lena’s grandmother, eighty-year-old Nadezhda Petrovna, suffered a severe stroke. Mom didn’t say anything more on the phone to her daughter, asked her to try to come as soon as possible. Lena immediately replied that she would be able to drive up to her parents in an hour and a half, Lena’s brother promised to be there at about the same time, so the family council took place quickly. When the girl arrived, Maxim was already there, and Lena’s mother, Svetlana Andreevna, was sitting by the phone, waiting for a call from the hospital, where Nadezhda Petrovna was taken.
— How’s Grandma? Lena asked from the doorway.
— They haven’t called from the hospital yet, — Svetlana replied with a sigh.
– I’m sitting here, waiting…
— And what are we going to do? The girl asked in confusion.
When she was driving, she thought that she either needed to find a good doctor or a hospital, or look for some documents or at least bring things to her grandmother. It turns out that none of this is necessary? Then why all this urgent advice?
— Len, there’s such a thing here, — Roman, the father of the family, began to explain. – The doctors from the ambulance told us that Nadezhda Petrovna might not survive this. So you just need to be ready.
— Jesus, Dad! Don’t say that! Lena exclaimed.
— Grandma is already 80 … — Maxim drawled thoughtfully.
Lena stared at her brother in shock. At the words of Roman, only Svetlana sobbed. She also understood this, but tried not to think about the bad.
«Is there any regret in either of you?» At least for two? Lena was indignant.
Maxim was about to say something to his sister, but then the phone rang. From the first call, Svetlana shuddered, and then grabbed the phone.
— Hello? Yes, that’s right, yes… oh my God … — the woman sighed with relief, and a smile appeared on her lips.
— Grandma coped, — Lena realized.
But Svetlana suddenly became alert and abruptly straightened up.
– Wait, I don’t understand. And when will it become clear for sure? Yeah, I see. Thanks for the information, goodbye.
— Well? Lena asked breathlessly.
— Well, there are two pieces of news. The first is that my grandmother’s crisis has passed, she is still in intensive care, but there is every chance that everything is over. This is good news,» Svetlana hesitated and bit her lip.
— But there is also a bad one? her daughter suggested.
— Yes. My grandmother’s left arm and leg are still completely paralyzed. And doctors don’t know if rehabilitation will help. It will become clear in about a month.
Lena pressed her palms to her lips.
I was terribly sorry for my grandmother, if she can’t walk, she won’t survive this, she won’t be able to tolerate permanent nurses at home. She’s not the kind of person to allow herself to wear diapers.
— That’s not all, — Svetlana said gloomily. – The brain damage was large, the neurologist is going to put encephalopathy, I was told that because of this, my grandmother’s behavior may change greatly.
— That is? Maxim asked, but Lena understood perfectly well what that meant.
The girl studied to be a nurse and was familiar with the concept of encephalopathy.
— She can be naughty, swear, — Svetlana shrugged her shoulders vaguely. – And this diagnosis, as I understand it, is not going to be changed. If the paralysis is not yet clear, then everything is determined with this.
The whole family hung their heads. Lena didn’t want to believe that such a nightmare could happen to her grandmother. Roman was trying to come up with a way out of such a difficult situation, and the puny Maxim was deciding how to disown caring for his grandmother.
Maxim was already 32 years old, he got married and managed to have a child. He did not want to take on his shoulders the care of a paralyzed grandmother, although he lived closest to her.
— Maybe we need to find good paid rehabilitologists?.. Lena asked uncertainly.
— Maybe, but we need to do this a little later. At least when Nadezhda Petrovna is transferred from intensive care,» Roman replied. – But still someone will have to look after her. Even if everything ends well, without paralysis, it is necessary to visit her more often. And then you never know…
— Oh, my God, — Svetlana covered her face with her hands. – What a nightmare. I just can’t accept it.
— Wait, you’re so upset, Mom, — Lena hugged her mother by the shoulders. – Maybe everything will still be fine.
«Yes, you’re right,» the mother sighed. «Well, we’ll have to wait for now.
Nadezhda Petrovna was transferred from the intensive care unit two weeks after the stroke. Of course, immediately the whole family gathered to visit her, except Maxim, who was not released from work. Well, or so he said.
Lena disliked her brother, it seemed to her that he was a selfish, cowardly person, and in case of something, it would be impossible to rely on him. Therefore, the girl was not particularly upset when he unsubscribed that he would not be able to come, but he would definitely look in later.
Svetlana, Roman and Lena gathered at the nurse’s post and found out which ward Nadezhda Petrovna was in. Lena couldn’t hold back her tears when she went to her grandmother. She had never seen her cheerful granny so emotionally extinguished.
Nadezhda Petrovna was lying on the bed and looked indifferently at the ceiling, she did not even immediately react to the newcomers. Svetlana was terrified, she was also not used to seeing her mother in such a state. Only Roman tried to pretend that everything was fine, so as not to upset Nadezhda Petrovna even more, greeted her loudly, smiled and went to the couch. Sveta and Lena came to their senses and also approached Grandma.
— Mom, hi, — Svetlana tried to smile, and Lena openly sobbed.
It would seem that a month ago they were frying pancakes and baking pies with their grandmother, and now she is lying motionless in bed.
– How are you feeling?
— Well, how… Terrible, terrible, hopeless… — Nadezhda Petrovna calmly replied.
— Grandma, come on… is it really that bad here? Lena asked, although she knew perfectly well that it couldn’t be worse.
— Oh, Lenochka, — Nadezhda Petrovna sighed and did not want to continue her phrase.
— And we bought you vitamins here, — Roman coughed. – So that you can race with us later.
«I’m afraid that’s no longer possible in my condition,» the woman smiled weakly.
— How’s your arm, Mom? Sveta asked.
— I can move, but I can’t lift the cup. It’s the same with my legs, I can stand up, I can’t walk without a stick,» Nadezhda Petrovna answered sadly. – And there’s always some kind of fog in my head, I can’t even explain it.
— Well, at least a little hand and foot work … — Svetlana sighed.
They talked a little more, and then Nadezhda Petrovna began to get confused in the syllables of words and said she was tired. The hint was understood, and the daughter and her parents left the ward, promising to come tomorrow.
Of course, my grandmother was in no mood, and that’s understandable. Here she lived a normal life for herself, and then suddenly she fell, so much so that she barely had enough strength after fainting to crawl to the phone to call her daughter. Having mumbled something into the phone instead of articulate words, Nadezhda Petrovna fainted again, and Svetlana immediately called an ambulance and went to her mother herself. And what would happen if the old lady couldn’t call her daughter? Thoughts visited the most disgusting. Nadezhda Petrovna just didn’t want to live. She considered herself a burden to her family. Tears trickled down her wrinkled cheeks, she didn’t even try to blot them with a handkerchief. And why? As if someone else needs her, as if you need to pretend that everything is fine. Her legs could no longer hold her, the old woman stood with difficulty, not to mention walking independently. Okay, Maxim, the grandson, would have brought the food, but who will cook? Strangers? And what about the fact that the old lady will not be able to wash herself, or even go to the toilet? How to deal with it? Nadezhda Petrovna was seized with terrible despair.
Time passed, and it was time to discharge the old lady from the hospital. Significant improvements were not observed, even a specially invited rehabilitologist did not help. Of course, he made a long program for Nadezhda Petrovna, but the woman did not really see any sense in it. She no longer believed in anything.
A couple of days before discharge, the family met again to discuss further actions.
— So, I won’t beat around the bush. We need someone to take care of Grandma, — Svetlana immediately said.
She seemed to have come to terms with her mother’s condition this month.
— Aren’t we going to hire a nurse? — Maxim asked immediately.
— Do you have money for this? Svetlana looked at him seriously.
— Mom, how come? I actually have my own family,» he said.
— So we have no money for a professional nurse, — Roman continued his wife’s thought.
– We helped you with the car, don’t forget.
— Is it really all your savings? Maxim snorted.
When Roman was about to explain to his son in a manly way that you can’t talk to your parents like that, Lena intervened.
— Okay, no need to quarrel. I’ll take care of Grandma,» she said decisively. Svetlana sighed with relief.
The woman herself could not take care of her mother properly, she and Roman lived in the suburbs, it would not work to go to her every day.
— It’s good that you volunteered, Len. Grandma bequeathed the apartment to me, but of course I will make you a donation.
— Mom, I’m not going to take care of my grandmother because I want an apartment! Lena replied indignantly.
— Well, well. We live in a difficult time,» her mother cooled her down. – Moreover, I am sure that it will be difficult to follow Grandma. Therefore, you should have at least some kind of reward.
— I don’t want to talk about it, — Lena snapped. — It sounds like you’re giving up on your mom.
— I’m just trying to really look at things, — Svetlana sighed.
…We met Nadezhda Petrovna already with a full family. As soon as the old lady arrived home, she immediately asked to take her to bed and close the door to the room. Lena decided that she would stay with her grandmother, and if she suddenly felt better, she would return to the hostel. At first the old lady was glad that one of her grandchildren would stay with her, but then she remembered that Lenochka was staying not to try baked pies, but to help Nadezhda Petrovna take a shower, change clothes, and so on…
Immediately, the grandmother drooped and turned away to the wall to quietly cry into the pillow. Lena saw how hard it was for Grandma. The girl tried to support the old lady in every possible way, but it seemed that the more she did for Nadezhda Petrovna, the worse the grandmother herself treated her granddaughter.
The woman pretty soon everything went wrong: the food is not like that, the porridge is not tasty, the pillow is hard, the blanket is cold, the apartment is stuffy…
At the same time, Lena got a night shift job at a private clinic. They paid well, but there were a lot of responsibilities. The clinic was of a specific nature, narcological, to be more precise; patients came across a variety of harmless «drinkers» to men rushing in a fit of delirium tremens. Lena was terribly tired at work, studied and took care of her grandmother, who finally drooped because of her helplessness. Nadezhda Petrovna refused to do her exercises. Encephalopathy has flowed into a real vascular disease of the brain. The old lady became tearful, capricious, and sometimes even embittered and aggressive. So several years have passed.
Svetlana and Roman rarely visited Nadezhda Petrovna, Maxim even stopped by for a couple of holidays, and then still did not find time to check on his grandmother. Of course, she was offended, and this only made her more upset. And Lena always got it.
The girl turned 26 when she finally realized that she could afford to rent an apartment, and her grandmother to hire a professional nurse. Parents categorically refused to help with money. They referred to the fact that Maxim constantly asked for a loan, a gift had to be made to the growing Sasha, Maxim’s son, to help with the vacation, to go on vacation themselves, and so on. At the same time, Lena never went anywhere, she spent all the time with her grandmother, despite the fact that the interests of a twenty-year-old girl did not include a fastidious old lady at all. Nevertheless, Lena endured all the curses of Nadezhda Petrovna, who simply could no longer control herself, the slightest trifle could throw her off balance. And Lena understood this perfectly well, she did not blame her grandmother at all. But the girl was just tired of living like this for six years.
During this time, Nadezhda Petrovna got worse, she practically did not get out of bed, had to use diapers, wash a couple of times a week. The old lady became absolutely indifferent to what was happening to her, but nevertheless, she complained to Lena about Lena herself, and did not remember about the rest of her relatives. Maybe she forgot she had them at all. Lena stopped counting on the help of her parents or brother to take care of her grandmother; she realized that even her own daughter is not as important as the fate of her paralyzed mother as a new fur coat or a vacation in Greece. The girl was offended, she did not understand what went wrong in a friendly family. Why did everyone abandon their beloved grandmother?
But it’s time to move out from Nadezhda Petrovna. At first, Lena stayed to look at the nurse’s work, but when she realized that everything was in order, she was able to move out quietly. Of course, every day she came to visit her grandmother, but she did not always find her in a good mood or in a state of clear consciousness at all. Most often Nadezhda Petrovna was asleep or muttering aimlessly. The visiting psychiatrist said that this is a typical clinic of a developing disease. However, the grandmother did not pose a danger to herself, the nurse was present, so the doctor simply prescribed pills for her and recommended hiring another night nurse. Lena told the latest news to her family, but, as she had expected, there was no money. And Maxim even hinted to his sister that her grandmother was now her problem, because she was promised an apartment as a reward for her help. Lena decided to cut off all contact with such a terrible brother on the same day. So another year passed.
Lena regularly came to visit her grandmother, talked to her, told her how she was doing. The pills prescribed by the psychiatrist helped to clarify the consciousness of Nadezhda Petrovna a little, so the grandmother could be found more often in a clear consciousness. On one of these evenings Lena was telling her grandmother about a new girl in their work team.
— Can you imagine, Grandma, she couldn’t put on an IV, — Lena grinned. – And the man’s veins were the size of a rope. It could even be done by an intern! And this girl still wanted to become a second procedural.
— Oh, Lenochka, you have a hard job, — Nadezhda Petrovna stroked her granddaughter with a working hand on her forearm.
— But it allows you to live normally, — the girl smiled. – And how are you doing?
— Yes, it’s fine, as far as possible in this situation, of course, — the old woman sighed heavily. – Lenochka, I’m sorry for what I’ve been saying to you all the time. I was kind of out of my mind. I understand that there is no excuse for me, you took care of me alone, and I… that’s how I repaid you…» tears appeared in grandma’s eyes, Lena immediately gently squeezed the old lady’s palm and smiled.
— It’s okay, Grandma. I understand everything, honestly. And I’m not mad at you at all.
— Honestly? Nadezhda Petrovna asked childishly.
Lena nodded affirmatively.
– Well, all right then, granddaughter. I wanted to ask you something.
— of course. What do you want?
— I would like to call a notary to my house somehow.
— And why do you need a notary?
— I want to rewrite the apartment for you.
— Oh, Grandma, — Lena didn’t like to talk about it.
She immediately saw herself as mercantile.
— No, granddaughter, you listen. You never know what your mom told you. Your mom generally pushed all the problems with a paralyzed grandmother on you, and she didn’t lift a finger. I don’t want to leave an apartment for such a daughter. And you, Lenochka, are a hardworking, responsible, honest, kind girl. I want to help you even after death.
— Grandma, what are you talking about! Come on, stop it!..
— No, my dear. I feel it, — Nadezhda Petrovna smiled calmly. – We old people are calm about death. Moreover, I am almost 90 years old. I have lived a long and happy life, and most of all I was lucky with you,» the old woman stroked the girl’s hand again. – I regret one thing. That you spent your youth on me, on caring for an old, feeble grandmother, instead of doing your personal life.
— Grandma, come on. First of all, I still have plenty of time, just like you. And secondly, I don’t regret my decision at all.
— You’re a nice girl, — Nadezhda Petrovna continued to smile. – But do my request, please. So far, I have not been deprived of my legal capacity.
— Yes, they won’t deprive you of anything, Grandma. Well, stop it, you’re upsetting me,» Lena said sadly.
— Okay, so be it. But it’s gone crazy in my head! Just don’t get rid of it! the old lady chuckled. – Will you do it?
— Okay, I’ll do it, — Lena sighed and also smiled.
A couple of hours later, the grandmother said goodbye to her granddaughter, and Lena went home. Maxim called her on the way. The girl did not want to pick up the phone, resentment for his words about Nadezhda Petrovna still burned her soul. But the call was repeated, and kindred feelings still prevailed.
— What do you want? Lena asked rudely.
— Hello to you, too, sister, — Maxim replied sarcastically.
— If you clownish, we say goodbye.
— Wait, wait. Len, I’m on business actually.
— Yes, I realized that it was not a holiday to congratulate, — Lena liked her brother’s tone less and less. He’s definitely going to ask for something now.
— In general, can I spend the night with you today? Maxim asked bluntly.
— What? The girl’s eyes widened.
— I’ll explain everything to you later, now just tell me: is it possible or not.
«Well… I don’t know… why aren’t you at home?»
— I told you, I’ll explain later.
— What about the parents?
— And they are actually on vacation in Italy. I’ve already called them.
— Well, okay, fine. Come, you know the address,» Lena agreed, still not understanding what happened to her brother’s happy marriage.
Maxim thanked him and hung up. When Lena drove up to the house, her brother was already waiting for her in the car. The girl greeted him coolly and took him to the apartment. Maxim looked around a little squeamishly, as it seemed to Lena, but apparently decided that such a modest atmosphere would do. No, but what did he expect from a rented apartment? What’s going to be a palace here? Well, I’m sorry, Prince.
— So what happened to you? Lena asked, pouring hot tea into cups.
Maxim was furiously texting with someone on the phone all the time.
«Well, that’s it for sure now,» he sighed.
– Yes, I fell in love, Len, do you understand?
— No, I don’t understand, — the girl answered honestly. – In the wife, or what?
— That’s the thing, no, — he looked expressively at Lena.
«Oh, well…» his sister drawled in surprise.
— Yes, today she found all our correspondence, and there are also photos and even videos … — admitted Maxim.
— My God, not even a video? Lena grimaced.
It was disgusting to her to imagine her brother for treason, so she drove these thoughts away with all her might.
— Yes, that’s how people in love live, can you imagine? – the girl glared at Maxim.
She herself never got a family, or even a young man.
– OK, sorry, I didn’t mean to touch a nerve.
— Yeah, of course.
— Honestly, I’m sorry. In general, now Ira wants a divorce. Well, actually, she threw me out the door, the apartment is hers.
«Wow,» Elena whistled.
— No, don’t worry, of course, tomorrow I will look through all the options for removal, I won’t stay with you for long. I understand everything myself,» he paused for a while. – And how is Grandma?
— Nothing, like… Only it was kind of weird today.
Stop, — Lena suddenly realized what Maxim was driving at, who had visited his grandmother only a few times over the years.
– Why did you suddenly decide to ask?
«Well, she’s actually my grandmother, too.
— Yes, of course! Why didn’t you think about it before? Lena burst out. – It’s clear as day that you decided to move into her apartment!
— But you said yourself that you don’t need an apartment, — Maxim didn’t even argue.
«So that’s it. You’ll spend the night with me today, tomorrow – go wherever you want. At least to the train station. But not to Grandma. You are not worthy to approach her at all. Don’t even try to argue with me now! Lena stopped Maxim’s attempt to object to something. – Good night.
At five in the morning, Elena was woken up by the phone ringing. The sleepy girl squinted at the number. Grandma’s night nurse called. My heart somehow jumped unkindly in my chest.
— Hello? Lena answered the phone.
«Elena Romanovna, I’m sorry to wake you up, but… in my opinion…» the nurse sobbed. – I came to check on Nadezhda Petrovna… And I didn’t hear breathing… I checked the pulse, and nothing… I’ve already called an ambulance, the police and funeral services, but I need you to come.
All the thoughts in Lena’s head were mixed up. She didn’t believe what she heard. No, not that! She left her grandmother’s a few hours ago! She was doing well, even better than usual! Even better…
That’s what alerted her to her grandmother’s behavior. Before death, many people experience so-called «enlightenment». Lena herself did not notice how the phone got wet from her tears, how the tears dripped on the blanket and on the exposed parts of the body. She was sitting in shock.
— Elena Romanovna?.. – it seems that the nurse was not easier. She also managed to get attached to her grandmother.
— I’m going, — the girl answered hoarsely, dropped the call and after a few seconds of absolute oppressive and oppressive silence burst into a cry of despair, which turned into loud sobs.
A sleepy brother came running to her cry. Lena somehow explained to him what was the matter, simultaneously washing with ice water to calm down a little. I immediately got dressed and went downstairs to the car. Her brother went with her. Despite the fact that he did not visit his grandmother, he still loved her, and it was a shock for him too. But Maxim took over driving, Elena just couldn’t concentrate on the road. Tears blurred my eyes, feelings were overflowing. After all, grandma had a premonition of her death, why didn’t this push Lena to at least some action? The girl blamed herself for inattention. If only Lena had listened to her grandmother’s words, perhaps she would still be alive.
Arriving at the scene, Elena already found an ambulance registering death, funeral services with a hearse, and even the police. Lena did not understand why the latter were needed in that situation. She answered some questions, gave the necessary documents, but when she looked into the room where her grandmother was lying out of the corner of her eye, she felt sick, despite the fact that Nadezhda Petrovna’s face was completely peaceful, she even seemed to smile, finally finding peace.
Lena’s legs gave way, and she grabbed the door jamb, just not to fall. Maxim took her to the sofa and then dealt with everyone himself. Lena suffered the loss of her grandmother the hardest of all. She cried for a long time, blamed herself for what had happened, and no one could calm her down.
About a week after the funeral, which Lena also organized, her parents arrived from vacation. Of course, they were also shocked by the death of Nadezhda Petrovna, but they did not arrive earlier. Lena just hated her family, she only loved her grandmother, but unfortunately she was no longer there. Mom and dad looked upset, saddened, mourning, but somehow too calmly began to sort out the affairs of Nadezhda Petrovna. Elena just couldn’t get it into her head. Perhaps they were just more mature and understood that now all the responsibility is on them. And it was necessary to tinker with paperwork: to deal with hospital documents, with inheritance, with life insurance, which was issued by Svetlana.
A few months later, when it was time to enter into inheritance rights, Lena got a call from her mother. Maxim had been living in Nadezhda Petrovna’s apartment all this time; he had managed to divorce his wife and, of course, he no longer had a home.
— Hi, Len, are you awake after work? – Svetlana asked first of all.
— No, today is my day off.
— OK. Listen, I want to talk to you about Grandma’s apartment.
«What about her?»
— Well, you’re a girl who earns well, and Max is having a difficult period right now. Well, where can a man almost save for an apartment at the age of forty? I thought I’d probably make a donation to him, not you. After all, you will soon be able to take out a mortgage and buy your own home.
Lena was sitting in shock. This apartment again, well, are all Muscovites so turned on living space?! Yes, it would still be fine if grandma didn’t mind, but Nadezhda Petrovna clearly said before she died that she wanted to leave the apartment to Lena. The girl could agree to give up her living space to her brother if he would at least occasionally help with the care of her grandmother, at least pay for one nurse, but just find out how things are!.. But Max was too busy with his personal life, depriving his sister of even the hope of dating or a wedding. And all these thoughts buzzed in Lena’s head like an evil swarm, and she finally realized that she really lives in a difficult time.
The girl smiled wearily. She didn’t want to argue over fifty square meters on the outskirts of Moscow, but she just needed to say everything.
— You know, Mom, do whatever you want, of course. But only my grandmother asked before she died to invite a notary to her to rewrite the apartment for me, and do you know why? She said she didn’t want to leave anything to her daughter, who didn’t lift a finger for her. And Max has done even less than you. I remember he was the one who said that Grandma was my problem. The problem, you know? And I took care of her calmly and continued to love her. She spat on herself and her personal life. At that time, by the way, how beloved Maxim was having fun with two ladies of the heart. And I, mom, at this time was wiping my grandmother with special means for bedridden patients, scraping the tasteless porridge from the wall and changing my grandmother’s diapers. I don’t expect any gratitude from you, take this apartment. I am disgusted only by the fact that you all turned out to be duplicitous parasites, and dreaming of getting a living space, it is disgusting that an unloved grandson will live in my grandmother’s apartment. I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore, I don’t want to talk or come for holidays. Only, Mom, keep in mind that your old age with dad is also not far off, but what Maxim will do with you later … I can’t even imagine.
With these words Lena hung up the phone. Her mother never called her back. Either she was offended, or Elena hit the nail on the head – who knows?