Print Story Rough few weeks.
Death
By toxicfur (Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:27:13 PM EST) (all tags)
I keep thinking I'll write a "real" diary, but I seem to have developed an aversion to writing, in addition to an aversion to everything else that requires, you know, movement.

This is a problem, what with being a professional writer. And getting work-related emails and trying to figure out how exactly I'm going to force myself to get done what needs to get done. Not to mention the statistics final coming up in a week. And the homework assignment. And regular life.



My grandfather died on April 16, a day earlier than I predicted. There are reasons that day is meaningful, and reasons why this is a tough time of year for me in general. It's painful, and that I lost the person who was a father to me makes it all the more painful.

It's not like I didn't know my grandfather's death was coming. He had a stroke some weeks ago, and he had been declining since last summer, when he had a rather serious single-vehicle accident. Even so, his death hit me hard. Harder than I'd anticipated.

His funeral was a funeral, of the Southern Baptist variety. I was glad I was there, mostly because I was able to spend time with my mom, whose mortality seems more real, suddenly. She's a couple of years into the 5-year life expectancy her doctor gave her. I don't know what I'm going to do when I lose her, too.

There are a few highlights of the week we spent there that I'll outline before I forget them - and if I get the desire to write back, I might go back and fill them out:

  • The preacher at my family's church came over Wednesday afternoon, the day before the funeral. My mom's three sisters and my mom sat around and told stories about him - mostly things I'd already heard, but hearing their recollections and adding my own was probably the best part of the week. The most impressive thing - which I didn't know - was that he sold houses to very poor people in a predominantly black part of the county, financing them himself, charging low interest, and accepting whatever the people could pay each month. One woman told my mom she paid $10 or $20 a month, and finally paid off her house, and she never would've been able to own a house without my grandfather.

  • The worst part was at the graveside. My three brothers and three male cousins were pallbearers. All was well, as they lifted the casket awkwardly over a headstone and onto the platform. My youngest brother, J, came down from the platform and immediately began to sob uncontrollably. His fiancee held him for a while, and then my mom, and then me. "I tried to hold it in," he said, "but I just couldn't anymore." J really wanted my grandfather to be at his wedding, scheduled just three weeks after the funeral. My heart broke. Again.

  • Visitations are weird and uncomfortable. My grandfather's body looked like a movie corpse - not at all like himself. The good thing about the visitation was seeing people I haven't seen in a long time, most especially the man who was as much like my grandfather's son as he was an employee. He saved my grandfather's life (literally) more than once, but those are stories for another time. I also saw my 12th grade English teacher, who didn't remember me, but I remembered her - she told me I was not a good writer, and that I should not expect to be an English major in college. Heh.

  • My grandfather's sister, R, is interested in family genealogy and history, and she's figured out that I have a lot more interest in that sort of thing than anyone else in my family. She called one evening to ask if I'd be interested in my great-great-Aunt Mattie's special hat-feathers, from sometime in the early 1900s. Er. Sure. Sounds cool. So once I get them, I'm going to need to talk to someone who can tell me about preservation of feathers. Hm.

  • The day of the funeral, my mom's sister C asked if they could please make an appointment with my grandfather's lawyer to get the will started. That bit of tactlessness made me incredibly, horribly angry.

  • The public library in my hometown of 3000-ish people has free wifi. Who knew?

  • I sincerely disliked my aunt A's significant other. He radiated assholishness. She radiated an odd meekness that I found disturbing.

  • My cousin M's 3-month-old daughter was rather astonishingly cute, if a bit fussy. I was a little sad that I didn't get a chance to hold her. My opinions on babies have softened rather substantially in the past few years.

  • I hope my brother K does marry his current girlfriend. Apparently, they're talking in that direction - and they're living together now, something my brother has never done before. She was great, and there needs to be another tattooed liberal in my family. And K, for the first time that I can remember, seems comfortable in his own skin. Even better, he seems genuinely, comfortably happy.

  • I went to the best bar in southeastern North Carolina with ana, my brother P, and his wife. We saw a pretty awesome Aussie band there, and drank some good beer, and I made an attempt to bond with my sister-in-law. It seems a losing proposition.

  • I spent some time with my mom, which was just good. I worry, especially when she doesn't have much feeling in her fingers, and drops her cigarettes constantly. While I was there, she dropped it on her oxygen cord. When it burned through, there was a little torch, she said. Fortunately, it was put out quickly before any serious damage was done.

  • I love my partner, who spent way too much time with my family and stuck by me, doing exactly what I needed by just being with me.

 
< Grumble, grumble, grumble | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Rough few weeks. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Glad to hear it. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:36:03 PM EST
I was mugged at our West End Tavern.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

It's a possibility there, I'm sure. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:49:37 PM EST
Though probably more likely outside of McDonald's, which has been used on a semi-frequent basis to sell drugs, than in/around the bar.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Scoring at McDonald's? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:52:12 PM EST
Why didn't I think of that?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Oh, the cops are aware. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:55:54 PM EST
As is everyone who lives in any small town with a McDonald's. My brother, a police officer in my hometown, was the one who told me about it - I stay utterly clueless about these things.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
that would never have occurred to me. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 10:06:10 PM EST
Sad story, well told by johnny (4.00 / 4) #5 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:55:59 PM EST
Thank you, and condolences.
... this is dreamworld after all... it isn't? Shit.
Thank you. by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:58:18 PM EST
And thanks for reading.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Loss is still loss, even if you expect it. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 3) #7 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 06:10:17 PM EST

I remember freshman year of college, taking vacation time to go see my Grandpa when he was hospitalized, and the weird discussion we had, and what he asked me. This reminds me I need to complete my promise to him.

Also, I highly suggest clothing your Mom in some serious Nomex. It's not her time, and that's not how she needs to go. I'm worried about her, and she's not even my Mom!

Also, I am reminded of how I miss liberal North Cakalaka women. Or woman, as the case may be. I'm not complaining about that, I just think it might be time to make a pre-emptive phone call, before the crying starts.

Chin up!


-
You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
I did consider... by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #10 Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:15:26 AM EST
seeing if my brother still had his firefighter gear that I could encourage my mom to wear while she smokes. She would've just rolled her eyes at me and said something sarcastic, though. I have to admit that I find it somewhat amusing to watch the looks people give her when she takes the little oxygen tube off and lights up while walking across a parking lot. She's totally hard-core.

It is hard, and I'm just thankful that I got to spend some time with my grandfather before while his mind was more or less intact.

-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye

[ Parent ]
i was astonished by aphrael (4.00 / 3) #8 Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 10:05:10 PM EST
when both my grandmother and my mother died, even though it had been expected for nine months in the former case and four in the latter, at just how much their deaths, even though they were expected, hurt.

in both cases i think it was years before i was truly whole again.

HUG

take solace in your partner, and in the beauty of the world, and in the wonderful vibrant sense of life around you. the season will pass.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Thanks. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:18:55 AM EST
I was astonished by how much my grandmother's death hurt, too, even though it was expected for quite some time (this was in 1993). So I was expecting to be surprised by grief again, but this time it's less the intense, immediate grief that was surprising than this lingering sadness. I still miss my grandmother and mourn for her loss, even now. It'll probably be similar with my grandfather. Somehow, though, I've got to start functioning at more than 50% in the meantime.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
funerals bring out... by clock (4.00 / 3) #12 Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:37:33 AM EST
...the best in the worst and the worst in the best, in my experience.

that was a really sad story and i'm sorry you had to live it.  but you have a wonderful and supportive partner and a kick ass dog.

i'm really sorry for your loss.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

Thanks. by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #13 Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:04:03 AM EST
And I do have a wonderful partner, a great dog, and two charmingly weird cats. There's very little in life I need aside from them.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
You... by iGrrrl (4.00 / 3) #14 Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:24:44 AM EST
...write better when you "can't write" than most people do on their best days.

Yay for the partner.

Sorry I haven't been around.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

Thanks. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:41:28 AM EST
And you weren't around for good reasons - but it will be good to catch up, once we're both in the office. I'll probably be in tomorrow, since there aren't classes this week.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
I agree with iGrrrl by Kellnerin (4.00 / 2) #16 Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:04:09 PM EST
And I do not think there is a more "real" way you could have written this.

--
"If a tree is impetuous in the woods, does it make a sound?" -- aethucyn
Thank you. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:24:25 PM EST
But you have to understand that it sounded much better in my head, with paragraphs, and topic sentences, and actual narratives. :) This is good enough for now, though.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Rough few weeks. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback