The good news is that I have agreed on a price for a house of my own, one that is nice and only about 2 miles from where I work. The agreed price is $156,000, which is very reasonable in this part of Massachusetts even for a small house in a down market. I haven't talked much about my house-hunting, but it has been an interesting process, and there are still quite a few steps left. I am going to the inspection on Monday.
The bad news is that my grandmother's health is going further downhill. She is my father's mother, my one surviving grandparent, and is 94 years old. She lives down in Texas, about 100 miles southwest of Dallas and some 40 miles west of Waco, near my aunt, who visits her at least once every week. She often described me as her favorite grandchild, and we were pretty close as I was growing up. My father and I have visited her the last two Septembers for her birthday, and I still write to her from time to time. For the last year or so, however, her health has deteriorated. She sleeps a lot, has lost quite a bit of weight, and needs more assistance taking care of her everyday needs like getting dressed, etc. She has usually been unable to hold extended conversations, and sometimes gets very confused. She moved from an assisted living area into a more complete nursing home area of the same facility. Now she often completely forgets where she is, which is considerably worse than she was just this past September when I visited her. My aunt and the people at the nursing home both think that she sleeps so much at least partly to escape the confusion and anxiety that she feels because she can not remember where she is or what is going on. I feel somewhat guilty for not writing to her since earlier in November, although I believe that she mostly relies on my aunt to read my letters to her now, and may not always fully understand them.
Overall, her health and quality of life, which were not good even over a year ago, are tragically declining more and more. It happens to almost everyone eventually, but that does not make it any less painful or sad when it does happen.