After nearly a decade...
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26-12-2012, 10:35 PM (This post was last modified: 26-12-2012 10:46 PM by Misanthropik.)
After nearly a decade...
...ol' Gramps is finally dead. It might've been the heart; it might've been the diabetes; it might've been absurdly old age (most normal people have already been dead for about 10 years). Either way, he finally passed about 2 hours ago*. Ironically, I had just started down the road to pay him what was looking to be one last visit when I got the call. (Is it horrible that I was relieved?)

As it transpires, my last visit took place earlier today at around noon when I got a call from my mom, who got a call from the nurses; saying that his original declaration of "6 months" turned into "sometime this evening". He had begun to drift in and out of consciousness and his breathing was reduced to shallow, pathetic gasps. So everyone (in the family) dropped their respective duties and engagements and gathered en masse to the nursing home to pretend we all happened to stop by at once to say hello, rather than to fulfill some inner drive to see a loved-one for the final time. Quite frankly, I'm not sure he knew that half of us were there. Who he most assuredly knew was there was my grandmother - his talkative, child-like wife - who had evidently realized the fact that no, he will not be "getting his strength back" so the two of them can dance through the tall grass once more; he was knocking on death's fucking door, and it was time to wake up to reality. So she took the time to read, through very teary eyes, the numerous love letters and anniversary cards she had penned for him over the years. (I specify that she was the main author, because honestly, I'm not sure he gave more than perhaps 55% of a shit) He would start to drift off to sleep again; hoping that maybe he could spend his final moments in peace, and she would promptly wake him up to say "Remember babby? Remember when Susan did so and so at the whereverthefuck with the whogivesashit? Wasn't that darlin'?" At those moments, even his completely dilapidated body managed to jump with a start before letting out a groan; half of "Oh, yeah" and half of "Please shut the fuck up so I can die".


The part that annoyed me the most was when my grandmother's life-long church buddy showed up. They're both devout (like, "this thread reaches face-palm levels if you keep reading" devout) Jehovah's Witnesses and decided it was time to pray with my grandfather in his final hours. When the church buddy arrived, the religious literature came out and my grandmother began to read page after page of everlasting life and Jehovah’s glory to the barely-conscious man. Now, I don’t know the status of the guy’s faith. He was a steadfast Witness most of his adult life, but I recall an incident which took place when I was about 13 during which he told me that he had “looked at a lot of religions in my time; up to and including the Witnesses up there at the Kingdom Hall. After all these years, I’ve realized they’re all just….bah.” But again, that was when I was 13, and since that time, he has on occasion mentioned various aspects of religious doctrine as though they were realities; so I really can’t be sure if he had genuinely lost some measure of faith, or if he was simply a grumpy old man (And grumpy he was. He put Chas to shame in the grump department Wink ). Either way, his wife and her friend were “shoving God down his fucking throat”, as my sister so eloquently put it, and were doing so at a time when the majority of what little strength he had was being spent on taking his next feeble breath. In his condition, even the most devout man would have endeavored, if he possessed the necessary strength, to reach out and toss the books across the room in an effort to end the babble-mouthed onslaught. (Spend 5 minutes with my grandmother and you’ll understand)


After reading from the books for what felt like hours, they decided it was time to pray. Well, anyone who knows the Witnesses intimately knows that women aren’t worthy to approach the Almighty while in the presence of males - particularly males who have been baptized. Even in my 20 years I had never been baptized (I felt I wasn’t worthy of the responsibility, but that’s another story), but my dad - being a former Catholic - was quick to take the literal plunge so as to somehow preserve his standing with God. So, being that he and I were the only two males in the room (aside from my grandpa; a small fact they seemed to have overlooked completely), they asked us to leave. My sister is also an atheist, but she opted to stay for what I assume was the sake of shits and giggles. After my dad and I left the room, my grandmother and her friend went into full voo-doo mode and asked my sister to lend her hat so that my grandmother could cover her head as she prayed. (Even as a Witness, I found this to be somewhat unsettling behavior)


Anyway, that was around noon today, and we all went back to our lives with the plan of gathering again this evening to see him. And as I said, I was just on my way to do so when I received the call that he had passed. Now as you’ve guessed, I’m not the most sentimental person and I take death with all the nonchalance of any other trivial activity. I wasn’t always that way, but I most certainly am now. Not that it’s important. But now, I’ve got a lovely week of viewings, funerals, Kingdom Hall attendances and long-lost acquaintances (all highly religious) to look forward to. My grandfather was nice enough to be in the same room with, but in regard to who he was as a person; he was really kind of an asshole. A guy who gave his step-son a concussion by throwing him against the wall and lifted his wife off her feet as he held her by her throat. A man who insisted, quite matter-of-factly, that “the black men who go to the Kingdom Hall are just ‘blacks’. That’s ok. But the rest of them - who don’t go to the Kingdom Hall - they’re ‘niggers’.” He was a misanthropic old man (far beyond what I fancy myself to be) who went from a highly-esteemed job at the Pentagon to being an absolute shut-in; having alienated anyone who ever cared about him in the slightest. Save for my grandmother, that is.


As I said, she is an incessant talker with the mind of a child. And in fact, I mean that in a rather literal way - she was raped and molested for much of her late childhood/early adulthood and it’s been my observation that she’s not developed past that point in her life. For this reason (and, I’m sure, for many more to which I’m not privy), she clung to that man’s side - even as he beat and berated her while she attempted to clean up the product of his loosening bowels - right up until the end. He was truly the only thing she lived for. She lived to serve him, despite his mistreatment.


My original point in saying all of this is that I’m now the only one to do anything physical during funeral services - that is unless my uncle (the wall-slammed step-son) decides to overlook his history with the man who’s now dead and do his part to help out. My cousin is in the Air Force as is currently deployed god-knows-where, and my dad is in his 50’s with a back made of mesh and synthetic bone, so I doubt he’ll be lending a hand.


Overall, though, we’re all now faced with the task of caring for my newly-widowed grandmother who is now without a husband for whom to care. After some time, I’m going to suggest she returns to the one thing that gave her actual, personal joy in her life; driving kindergartners to and from school on the bus. That is, assuming she lives that long (her “jokes” about self-harm have shown an increasing lack of punch-lines over the months and now more resemble "statements" than anything).


So anyway, the old guy’s dead and this forum is a good place to share significant events with the world. So there it is.

(Perhaps it would’ve been better off in the ranting thread…) Consider

*The time of posting puts it at about 3 hours.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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26-12-2012, 10:45 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
Sorry...a loss of a family member isn't easy. Doesn't really matter if they were an asshole, a saint, or something in between. The death rituals are not pleasant to deal with regardless of your feelings about death. Lots of family, sounds like lots of religion, and trying to just do the right thing and get through it. Take a breath...put one foot in front of the other and just keep plowing through it.

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26-12-2012, 10:50 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
It's certainly going to be a trying experience. I've done it twice before, but I was still young enough to just be a kind of tag-along. Now I've gotta be involved; and (increasingly) more so in the future, given the ages of my grandmother and my parents.

Fuckin' life. Censored

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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26-12-2012, 10:52 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
It ain't always easy being a grownup. Hug

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26-12-2012, 10:55 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
Never was. No

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Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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26-12-2012, 11:02 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
Sorry for your loss Misanthropik. I am familiar with the passing of family alongside deep religiosity, I know how stressful it can be. Amidst all of this, you're allowed your own way of grieving and whatever boundaries that comes with. Respect can go both ways. Smile

I hope the next few weeks have some strength and peace somewhere in the duties and activities, take care.
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26-12-2012, 11:43 PM
RE: After nearly a decade...
...

Sorry man. Sorry for the loss, and sorry for the religious shitstorm. Hold onto your sanity, it sounds like it's gonna be quite a ride...
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27-12-2012, 02:39 AM
RE: After nearly a decade...
Asshole or not, family is family. Sorry for the loss, Misanth.

Glad you're going to take in interest in your grandmother's life and try to steer her in a positive direction. In contrast to the religious crap, that's something genuinely useful you can do for her that can make a real difference in her final years. Might make you feel good too.

BTW, did anyone ever tell you you're a fine writer?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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27-12-2012, 04:05 AM
RE: After nearly a decade...
choked at:
"can dance through the tall grass once more".

Thinking of you, dude.

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27-12-2012, 05:35 AM
RE: After nearly a decade...
Wow. Ditto on the talented-writer bit. I hope writing all that down was cathartic for you.

Intricacies of family dynamics are heightened in times of crisis. Regardless of your relationship with the person who passed, it's a stressfull time. I'm sorry you're going through this, Misanthropik. Please do come share here & get things off your chest.

Thinking of you Hug

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