I am sorry. I have sadly neglected my blog. I was really struggling with it, and even the idea of it. Plus it seemed like I had no time. A struggle most of us have every day, a shortage of time.
Revelstoke was a wonderful time away, Libby and I hung out, she took me for twice daily walks (the dog came too), we went for a beautiful “date,” hot springs, I had never been, dinner and a ferry ride, where Libby struck up conversation with a half dozen boys, (snow nerds) solely for my benefit. It was a weekend of easy and insightful conversation. The kind of weekend only a 20 year friendship can produce. I hope everyone gets to feel that once in their life.
I confided to Libby that initially I was in love with the blog, a torrid infatuation. But lately… I just wasn’t feeling funny, and it wasn’t as entertaining as it started out. It was all “me, me, me… I did this… I think that…” That even though it was about me, I wasn’t sure I would go out of my way to read it. Now rationally this is silly. It is a blog about me and my experiences. How I am healing through this awful life changing break up, move, and “personal crisis” (1st world worries). If my intent is to write a comedy piece, it’s no longer about me, it’s about the readers. I in some warped and twisted way made my personal blog about the readers. I have issues.
I know most of the people that read my blog are people that I love and hold dear, that even when I’m not funny my voice is clear in my writing. And that you are not checking here to be entertained (right?). Those of you that do not know me on a personal level, I’m flattered you follow, and I’ll apologize in advance, it may not always be a laugh a minute.
I stopped on my way home to visit my grandfather. This old man, has been mean, selfish, thoughtless, and even out right crazy for most of my adult life. My grandmother had a genetic muscular failure disease similar in nature to MS . She passed away 12 years ago. My Gramps has been a happy bachelor for 20 years. My mother used to pack up us kids and haul us to grandma and grandpa’s house 2 or 3 times a week. She did all the house cleaning and errands for my grandmother before she went into the nursing home. As a kid I spent a tone of time with Grampa. He had a tractor tire retaining wall that he had made into a garden, I’ll search for a picture… it was super cool.
He liked to be out of the house and honestly away from my grandmother most of the time. He hunted, fished, went berry picking, and had a smattering of interesting people he liked to go visit.
We would go with him. I loved the smell of the forrest, and the beautiful things we saw, there was always fresh berries, or fruit and veggies. I saw amazing sunrises and sunsets from mountain tops, I shot a gun for the first time, learned how to split wood for the fireplace, how to start a fire, how to pick blackberries without giving most of your skin to the bramble, How to drive, and how to get yourself out of a ditch/sinkhole/not actually a road hours away from civilization and usually at almost dark. Unfortunately he was a maniac about it. We couldn’t just go and pick an ice-cream pail of wild blueberries or huckleberries, Which takes in its self a long time wild berries are small! It would have to be 8, we would get out there and be there ALL day. Blackflies and misquotes swarming (and I am delicious, they LOVE me), the sun beating down on you (and I am super fair) Rain or shine, he would pick us up early and we would be out till dark. 2 or 3 hours driving for berries. Once you were home, you weren’t done, then all the berries needed to be cleaned and sorted, usually on cookie sheets, picking out leaves and bugs. You know what’s worse than finding a worm on your berry? Half a worm… Or opening up a peach and having a mess or earwigs climb out of the pit. eeeeeeeeee… I hate earwigs
There were lots of life lessons snuck in there. Wether he meant to teach us things or not, probably not. But I took away some valuable experiences, good and bad. It wasn’t until I was 8 or 9 I learned “bugger” wasn’t an endearing term. He would tease me mercilessly, until my Mother taught my to stand up for myself, bully coping 101 is a good life lesson. I learned what determination really meant. He worked hard at whatever task was at hand, until it was done. No half ass-ing anything. Work ethic is also a good life lesson.
Don’t get me wrong, I have incredible parents, and I know for a fact there were times my Mother did NOT want me to go out with gramps on one of his crazy excursions, and the stuff that happened she would have to laugh so she didn’t cry. He was so self absorbed he put us kids in potential peril on a regular basis. But he is dying and so I will focus on the good things…
Or the funny things, At 14 I was crazy about driving. I wanted to drive so bad. Gamps would want to go hunting, and it was safer for me the 14 year old with no experience to drive while he eyeballed the hills for game. Scary thought. He loved the back roads, or barely roads, a couple broken sticks and a muddy flat spot does not constitute a back road, something he was oblivious to. I was driving his new vehicle, brand new in fact, he hadn’t even had a chance to beat it up, he told me to head down this bike path of a road, and there was some snow on the ground. 15 min down this ever narrowing “road” and we get stuck. He had taught me how to “rock” out of a ditch while your wheels are spinning, but it hadn’t worked. No way he was getting out to push so he told me to crank the wheel and try again… I was looking over my right shoulder, I cranked the wheel to the right too, and he said, “floor it”. We jerked out of the ditch and heard a thud/smash/tinkle of broken glass. Oh shit. I look out the left window and there is a tree right there, something we had previously not noticed. I took the side view mirror right off. Clean off. Not even hanging there. I nervously laugh, and say; “You didn’t really use that did you?” “Nope” was his reply, he was pretty cool about it. I shimmied out of the cab to pick up the mirror, he replaced it with a mirror a different color, he just didn’t care about that stuff.
One of the lessons he intentionally taught me was “never lend money to someone you love or family” Because there was a definition for him, you don’t always love family. LOL. Living on my own for the first time, working full time and going to school what was supposed to be full time, really I was Bartending my way thru Bartending. I was tight on cash. He would come and visit me at work, I’d buy him lunch and yell at him a bit (super hard of hearing). He came in and had a beef dip and a coffee, I told him I had lunch, he refused, wanted a bill. I was thinking, cranky “bugger” (haha), I can buy the old guy lunch. But I gave him a bill, he put some money in the folder and left. When I went to go clean the table I grabbed the billfold and there was, in addition to the bill total, 5 crisp $100 bills tucked inside. I sat down on the chair at his table and had a cry. Wow. He wasn’t ever much for hugs, didn’t cope well with feelings or tears, it was the most thoughtful thing he could have done. And then he left for the emotional part. Smart. I phoned him, and told him it was a loan, I would pay him back, he said he wasn’t interested in getting it back. I had an emergency fund, and it was a gift. That if you weren’t in a position to gift money to a loved one you shouldn’t lend it.
The last few years have been tough on him, his brain has gone a little mushy, he holds onto things that happened 40 years ago, but can’t remember what he had for lunch. He would show up at my work with a flat of cherries, and the next week show up again, not because he wanted me to have 20 lbs of cherries, but because he didn’t remember dropping off the first and second, even third batches. He was in the hospital and nearly died of blood poisoning 4 or 5 years ago, not something one usually battles out of. See that sheer determination again? He has macular degeneration, so he can’t see well, he’s been deafer than a door knob for as long as I can remember. But now he can’t remember where his hearing aides are.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer a few months ago. A considerable size tumor that usually puts people on morphine or palliative care, but not that man, he’s still plowing thru life. Drinking teas, and herb remedies. His doctor has told him flat out he will die. He says his Dr is an idiot. Healthy denial still. My mother went to go visit him a week ago. He didn’t recognize her. Armed with a very funny/tragically sad email of information I was prepared to go see him on my way home from revelstoke.
He just went into an assisted living facility, and fell out of bed on friday, he was moved to the hospital where they found additional tumors in and around his kidneys. So My visit had been relocated to the hospital.
I found his room, and went in prepared for confusion. He knew who I was right away. I must have caught him on a good day, or being in the hospital he hasn’t had his naturopath remedies that make him a little spacey. I brought him cookies, and we visited, he asked about My Brother and his family, told me how proud my mother is of those boys. I reminded him that grand kids are pretty fantastic, nudge nudge, wink, wink. He laughed. He told me he wants me to have his deep freeze. This would be the second one he’s given me, how may freezers does a girl need?
We chatted a bit, chatted isn’t the right word, I have to yell at a volume that can be heard around the corner at the nurses station so he can hear me sitting 12 inches away. I ask if he’s been in a fight, there’s a bandage on his nose where he’s smashed his face falling out of bed. He says he lost a fight with the floor. Stupid gravity. I asked what his Doc had said, knowing already that they are waiting on a bed in hospice, He tells me medicine is big business and his Dr is an idiot. Not come to grips with the thought of dying. OK. I ask him if there is anything he needs? He says, “New liver” I offer him part of mine, but he says I’m using it, I should keep all of it. After about an hour, I should start my 2 hour drive home, and he thanks me for coming to visit. I’ll see him soon, and I hold it together until I’m out of the room. Down the elevator to a washroom, and I lock myself in there and have a little cry. I was prepared for confusion, indifference, connection and caring mades this harder. Cancer is a mutherf**ker.
I didn’t weigh this week. I forgot it was wednesday. there will be another wednesday next week… I’ll weigh twice.