I thought I would take a break from posting about Provincetown and the amazing trip I just took there to post something a little more personal that is on my mind. I want to talk about my Grandmother.
It’s been a few years since she passed away, but to me it still feels like yesterday. She was such a big and regular part of my life I don’t think her memory will ever distance itself from my daily life. Additionally, the unexpected and tragic way that she passed has engrained this level of grief I still haven’t fully dealt with.
She didn’t die from old age. It wasn’t something like cancer that took her from us. It was a sandwich. That’s right! She choked to death on her lunch. She was sitting alone in the kitchen eating when she started to choke. No one came to help her as she struggled to call for help. Sadly help was in the house, they just didn’t get to her in time.
Whenever I think of her passing I picture her face looking horrified, scared and shaken. Once those wretched images part from my mind I think of how I learned of her passing.
It was late October and I happened to be off from work on a personal day. I took off to submit an application to rent an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. I got home from the rental office around 10 am. I jumped in the shower and took a long hot steaming shower to allow myself to relax and kick off the rest of my day. When I got out I walked into the living room wrapped in my big blue towel and flipped the TV on. The View was on, a show I use to never miss if I could catch it.
I looked at my iPhone to see if there were any missed calls or text messages and I noticed something a bit odd considering it was the middle of a work day and no one knew I was taking off. I had 3 missed calls and 4 or 5 text messages.
I assumed one call must be from my Grandmother. She had called me the day before and the day before that and I didn’t answer either call. She typically called me once a day everyday. On some occasions she would call twice a day. I did my best to answer every call, but on some weeks I would wait a couple days so that we could save up topics and have a long conversation. Our typical daily call only lasted 5 to 10 minutes. She rarely had anything to say, she just was lonely.
Anyways, I figured one of the calls was my Grandmother, but that didn’t explain the other 2 calls and the text messages.When I opened the phone I quickly learned that not a single call was from my grandmother.
I only had to read the text messages to know that I should sit down. “Call me as soon as possible!” “Emergency!” “Where are you?” “Give me a call!”
The messages were from my mother as were all the calls. I muted the television as the ladies of the View laughed on the screen and called my mother. My mom immediately asked, “where are you? If you are at your office is there a place you can go to talk privately?” I told her that I was at home and she was relieved.
What was to follow was one of the saddest moments of my life. Between having to hear my mother’s voice crack as she tried to tell me what had happened and having to hear the story and learn that my Grandmother had died I felt my world dissolving around me. Grief, pain and sorrow swelled over my body. I barely remember the call ending. I just remember bending forward and crying with the ladies of the view moving on the screen in front of me.
Then the guilt swept over me. I ignored her last two calls. I didn’t answer my Grandmothers last two calls. I missed the last chance I would ever have to speak to her again. Having not taken those calls didn’t kill her, but to this day I remain heart broken about that.
The point of this story is to discuss a conversation I had with my mother last night. She called to tell me that my Grandfather isn’t doing well. He has an amazing amount of health issues smacking him in the face. To top off the fact that his health is deteriorating at an insane pace, he has begun saying some very odd things to my mother. He is imagining that I am calling him. He is imagining that he is missing my calls. Or he will just say that I called again. The issue is that my Grandfather and I haven’t spoken in over two years.
He lives with a relative of mine that I am estranged from due to her homophobic, conservative, prejudice and ignorant lifestyle and opinions. I hadn’t called him because I can’t speak to her. No one informed me that he got a cell phone until yesterday. Anyways, I have been told that it would be a good idea to call him and soon. I want to speak to him very badly. I don’t want to miss my chance, that is for sure. I also don’t want to relive the pain I have been living with my Grandmother. I just fear calling him and then by a complete freak act of nature, he dying shortly after.
My grandparents are two of the people I have always loved, trusted and known was there for me. Conservative to the core and not supportive of the LGBT community, they never let that stand between us. They always loved me regardless. I have always been very lucky to have them in my life. I can’t imagine losing both of them.