Her troubled mind had conjured up some frightening scenarios. She sat for hours wringing the hands that had once been so productive and accomplished. Her memory played cruel tricks on her as she tried to survive without her husband. Ernie had taken care of certain aspects of life that had always been a mystery to her. Although my grandparents ran a farm together, sharing the heavy work load, my grandmother was in the dark about the family finances. When she became a widow and could no longer stay alone at her farm it had been sold. Her life of relative freedom came to an end. She lived in institutions or at her children’s homes, never really settling. She missed independence even though she could barely manage daily tasks without a great deal of assistance. She disliked the feeling of being a houseguest, or even a child, of her son’s family. She had lost her matriarch status, and had to defer to her daughter-in-law. This life in suburban Pittsburgh was foreign, and cold. She rarely went out, and when she did she was fearful, even with her family. She lost her ability to relax. Anxiety was her only companion.
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