Thursday, July 16, 2009


Last night I felt restless and vaguely sick. I couldn't relax, I had heartburn, I wanted to vomit. I sat around in front of the fan and stewed. Eventually I was able settle down to and sleep but just had an uneasy feeling.

My grandfather died last night. In the back of my mind I think well maybe I knew (though that statement makes me want to slap myself a bit too so there is that).

I am thirty years old and until last night at some point all of my grandparents were alive. They are all in their mid-eighties so they have the usual physical complaints, they forget things, my mother's parents shouldn't be allowed to drive cars but they do. But they were all alive and doing things to make us all laugh and cry and worry. Now there are three of them. I don't know what to do about that.

He never got to hold Mo. When we took her back last year he had the flu and she was only three months old. So he watched her from a distance. My mom and I are going next week, he would have got to hold her this year. We missed it by less than a week.

I remember his leathery face. How he smelled like Brut shaving cream. How he would shower two or three times a day. How he loved the Cubs and taught me to love baseball. The summers before we moved to Washington my sister and I would go to stay with my grandparents for a couple of weeks. We would play out in their yard and garden and overheat ourselves and then I would settle in the den to watch baseball with my grandpa. It would be all dark and cool from a fan and we would lazily watch the game and doze off and curse when they lost (and often when they won).

He restored his mother's piano for me. Because he thought I played (I don't). But I promised him I would learn now. He made me a beautiful chair. He made the bar in my entry way (it's not really a bar but well)--if my mother thinks she is getting that back she is crazy.

He used to wake me up in the middle of night to eat ice cream or peanut butter and butter sandwiches.

My mother and I used to scour the Western stores looking for shirts in a size that can only be called skinny assed tall.

He would wear cowboy boots and was so sad when he had to stop because of his bad back.

My grandparents were classic depression era grandparents. They re-used everything long before it was fashionable. They have the same damn WINDEX bottle as they had in the sixties--with the packaging they haven't used in thirty years.

Oh you guys I have nothing good to say I am just so devastated. I would give almost anything to see him one more time. They are going to tear his house down, the one he built all by himself. The tiny little house they have lived in since my father was seven years old. Tiny rooms, shower in the bathroom, walled in porch where he hid from my grandmother. When I get there I am going to breathe so deeply, trying to store that smell in my memory. I wish I could bottle it, save it for times when I really need it. I might steal the Windex bottle for those times coming up ahead.


Frank said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had such a great relationship with him I know he will be missed.

Linda said...


I have nothing to say to make you feel better except that I'm sorry. Sniff.