My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

October 05, 2010

Day 6.

Ahh, a belly full of Subway and a freshly baked chocolate eclair staring me in the face. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.

Family disclaimer: You may not want to read.

My answer has to be the standard answer. I don’t want anyone to die. Ever. Especially and mainly my grandpa (I always cry now when I think of Pop, damn it). Since 2006 death is constantly on my mind. My family has been blessed to only have a few deaths (knock on wood), but the sudden death of my grandma changed me. Changed my whole family, actually. Ever since, I can’t look at a senior citizen and not think “he’s gonna die soon”. It’s awful.

I worked at a clothing store during this period, and I remember a lady brought in her granddaughter shopping. The girl was like any teenager, jaded and argumentative. I wanted to shake her and say “enjoy these moments!!! She’s gonna die soon!!!” On my sister’s birthday, the whole gaggle of us went out to dinner, and we had one of those long booths where one side is a booth and the other side is tables, so you’re almost sitting with other people. Right before we left, I noticed next to us was a old man alone. I got so sad. Where is his family? Is he alone, or did he just get hungry and want to eat? I think that’s going to be me one day. Being the baby in my family + no kids (well, you know what I mean) =alone. Everyone will be dead and I’ll have nieces and nephews, but no one to take care of me or carry on my legacy (that’s probably a good thing). I don’t ever ever want to die. Ever.

Back to my grandpa. He’s the best human being on the planet (damn it, still crying). He did the dad stuff (crying) my dad wouldn’t do, like take me fishing or camping (crying), get my car smogged, and buy me cool shit like a stereo or a microwave for my apartment. My first car was $3500, and I paid him $100 a month in payments. For high school graduation, I got a card (damn it, wiping tears) from him and my grandma with a piece of paper in it. The paper had my car payments listed, then a line: “paid in full”. When I ended up in a relationship with a total deadbeat (you’ll hear all about him on Day 10), he helped me make payments on my second car until he ultimately paid it off for me. I vowed never to have to be a loser again in his eyes (even though I know that’s not what he thinks). I never got to get that opportunity with my grandma. When she was in the hospital I was getting ready to move on my own for the first time-50 miles away. I never told her (funny side note-grandma’s sister Sissy said that my grandma wouldn’t want me to have my lip pierced, so when she died I took it out forever).

The choice to move to Australia was not as hard as I expected, except (tears) I knew it was probably the last time I will ever see my grandpa ever again, as he is 84 (give me a moment). With everyone else I can e-mail, or talk on the phone, but he doesn’t have a computer and he’s not a talker. I called him the first week we got here to wish him a happy birthday, and he sounded so happy to hear from me (which is a big freaking deal coming from him). I told him I loved him and he said “I love you too” (which is a HUGE freaking deal), and I hung up and cried for like an hour (still crying-you have no idea how sensitive I am or this subject is to me).

My dad is 61 and has lived a hard life-but it never occurs to me that he is going to die. Same with my mom. Or my husband, my son, my brothers and sisters, my friends-just my grandpa. It’s that hard for me. If he got sick or was dying, I would trade places with him in a second. This is going to sound very woe-is-me, but my grandpa is the backbone, the rock, the centre of our family. I am a burden, a pain in the ass, a weight my family has to carry. If I could trade places with my grandma, I would in a second. I still have dreams that she’s there, that we buried her but it was a mistake, and she’s alive, but I’m still aware of the fact that she will die again-then I wake up. I miss her (tears…hold on). I don’t know what I will do when ultimately it is my grandpa’s time. All I want from him to to have been proud of me.

So, four Kleenexes later, that is what I wish to never do. (Damn it, I reread this and I’m crying again and out of tissues. Shit.)


  1. It's true your grampa is a cool dude I dig him.

  2. One of my favorite poems ever is in a book called the Magic Box. It says:
    It is not the ones who throw roses on your grave
    who realize your life didn't's the ones
    you rode the roller coaster with, who you made love with,
    it's the children who learned from you
    to laugh exactly the way you do...they are where your life went.

    Dearest Hed,
    As long as you can remember your grandfather and all he means he will never be gone even if he is gone. He is a part of you as surely as your beating heart. We don't really die until we are forgotten, so write everything you know about him down and remember him everyday and help him live forever.

  3. What's funny is just reading the two comments I started to cry. I wish it wasn't so hard for me to accept life sometimes.

  4. Thank you for sharing with us your love for your grandpa! You are very lucky to have had time with your grandparents, I wish I could have met mine before they passed.


  5. Congratulations Hed. You've been given the "One Lovely Blog" award. The details are in the link.

  6. I think it's beautiful that you cry. It tells me that you have so much love in you. I never knew my mothers father. They didn't get along. So when I had my son, I drove up to where he lived and knocked on the door. He was about 85 as well. He opened the door and I asked if he was Leo and when he said yes I said "hi, I'm your granddaughter Barbara". We had the best visit ever and he held my son on his lap. We wrote letters back and forth for about a year and then he passed. I am so grateful to have the sense to find him and let him know I existed and wanted to meet him. Write letters to your grandpa if he's not a talker. Just talk...either by pen and ink or phone. Let him know you love him.