Final Goodbyes

It’s been tough to sit down and write this. Tough to even think about it. Tough to remember the words my father was able to choke out before the emotions took over. Tough to believe that my grandfather was really dead.

We had gotten the word from my aunt that he was going downhill again, and so I left work to try to get to see him. My father was coming back from North Carolina to see him. It seemed evident that the end was near and that he would not likely make it to election day. Unfortunately, by the time I made it home from work, I realized that by the time I got through traffic, he would be sleeping. So I made my plans to go see him Saturday morning. My father did the same.

I was just about to get in the shower when the call came – he had died that night. There would be no visit that day, or ever again.

Saturday was a blur. I made my way to my parents while we waited for plans to be made. I called my sister to let her know and to see if she would be coming up. Shari was hosting a photography seminar, and was committed to a dozen photogs, so had to give moral support via phone. I remember eating at my parents, talking to them, listening to the usual drama that surrounds most conversations about my family. But when I got home that night to Shari’s arms, it was tough to really tell her what had transpired throughout the day. The only thing that resonated was the simple fact that my grandfather – that old curmudgeon – wouldn’t be there to give me shit, to lambaste the liberals, decry the failings of the government and to talk of the past, all with a twinkle in his eye.

Strangely, I didn’t have any guilt about not making it down threw night before, for would have been his last night on earth. No, the last time I had seen him was how I wanted to remember him – more mentally together than he had been in years, and offering up wisdom that lacked his usual edge. His final words to me were his dying thoughts, his legacy; I can’t imagine any better way to picture him in my mind.

The final goodbye

Now we begin our days without our patriarch, the man who – for better or worse – was the head of the family. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad blood in my family that is rearing its ugly head now, and I can only hope that people can be civil to each other until well after the funeral on Thursday. For me, I just want to say my final goodbyes, to remember a man who did so much for me and who I know loved me although he would never say the words.

Goodbye, Ol’ Curmudgeon, and I will see you on the other side. Until then, don’t harass those liberals up there too much.


3 Responses to “Final Goodbyes

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather’s passing. But you have written a beautiful tribute to him (actually several, remembering your past entries about him). Well done.

    I echo your hopes that the bad blood in your family will remain under control. I was very lucky and when my grandfather died, everyone went out of their way to look out for each other. I hope the same happens for you.

  • Marty, you’ve written a proud and sweet passage here for your grandfather. Those conflicts within family bounds are tough, I think your wont to have them quell is a strong sign in what your own grandfather left you.

  • Oh, Marty, I’m sorry to hear about your grandpa. After Poppo died, and I would see things you wrote about your grandpa, it always made me realize how lucky we all are to have such wonderful grandparents. I’m glad you had your grandpa in your life as long as you did, and I’m sorry that you’ve got family drama happening. My family had that, and still does, but hopefully your collective love for your grandfather will keep things calm all at least through tomorrow, and your knowledge of his love for you will keep you strong. Rest in Shari’s arms now; I know how much I needed Michael when Poppo died. As someone who could love and sympathize without the immediacy and intensity of the loss and someone who could keep me sane while everyone around me lost their mind. I’ll be thinking of you and your family tomorrow.

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