Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mourning. Again.

There really isn't much organization of cohesiveness to this post. It is really just a collection of snippets of the last couple of weeks.

The morning following my last post my grandfather died. The nurse went in first thing in the morning to reposition him in bed and that was more than his heart could take. My parents immediately went to the hospice facility that he was at and I soon joined them. I sat in his room while his body still lay there in bed. I cried, I said my goodbye. The days and weeks that have followed since then have been a whirlwind- funerals, family drama, general bitching & complaining.

The funeral was rough, my grandfather served in WWII in the Merchant Marines. This is something that he was very proud of. He was on the Murmansk Run, for every 20 ships that sailed they were lucky if five of them made it there, they sailed to deliver supplies, equipment and troops on an unarmed ship through U-boat infested waters yet it wasn't until the 80's that the United States government recognized him as a veteran. It wasn't until just a few years ago that he was qualified to join the local VFW Post. My grandfather ran away to New York City at the age of 17 and forged his mother's signature so that he could enlist, because of this, he didn't graduate from high school. In the early 50's he earned his GED. A few years back, shortly after my grandmother died a law was passed that allowed such veterans to be granted their high school diploma. Though he had earned his GED many, many years before and he had a successful career in management in the local paper industry he was still so very proud to have his high school diploma.

Because of his service and (eventual) status as a veteran he was buried with full military honors. His best friend since kindergarten, the one who he ran away to New York City with spoke at the wake and told the edited story of how they enlisted. And he spoke beautifully of his friend who had known for close to 80 years.

There was one humorous moment following the funeral. We, the pall bearers, arrived at the cemetery ahead of everyone, the local VFW color guard was there along with three young men who made up the honor guard, these were soldiers recently discharged from the military who serve at funerals for local veterans, one a specialist, the other two sergeants. As we arrived, my brother-in-law, Rick, whom I have written about previously exited the car in his uniform. Those three young soldiers quite visibly stood up much straighter as my Rick, the very decorated, very soon to be Sergeant Major walked over and asked "Are you men folding the flag?" One of the sergeants responded with a very curt "Yes master sergeant" as Rick walked back to where we were I could see one of them rather discreetly turn to the other and say "Who the hell was that?!"

During the ceremony at the cemetery between my cousin playing Taps for our grandfather and the 21-gun salute and the folding of the flag and its presentation to my mother we were all overcome with emotion. I miss him dearly.

My four year old nephew, Thomas, would always say to my mother when he visited "Let's go see Papa, just for a minute" whenever he visited my parents, and so they would walk across the street and through the neighbors back yard to my grandfathers house for a quick visit. We have been wondering how to tell him that he can't go see Papa any more and the other day he finally asked. My mother got a bit teary eyed and told him that Papa had left to go live with Nana in heaven and that we wouldn't be able to see him anymore. Later in the day when getting ready to have lunch Thomas said to my mother "Memere, I want soup for lunch, the kind that me and my Papa used to eat."

When people ask where I live I often tell them that I live in a house that my parents own. While this statement is true it allows me to skirt the fact that I live with my parents in their house. Leaving a good job in Pennsylvania to return to Maine without the guarantee of a full time job, only a pair of part time jobs, at the outbreak of a global economic recession was not one of my smartest moves. The economy sucks, there are no full time paramedic jobs here and so I live in my parents home, which brings me to my next topic.

The night my grandmother died eight years ago, when the doctor came out to the waiting room to tell my family what I already knew, my grandfather sobbed and the first thing he said was "What am I going to do without her?" To the best of my knowledge at that point in time my grandfather hadn't prepared a meal for himself since 1946, and so started the dinner time routine. My grandfather would have dinner at my house or my aunt's house each night of the week, so with the exception of nights that I was working and the year I spent living in Pennsylvania, I had dinner with my grandfather at least three nights a week, even more so over the course of the last year and a half since my aunt became ill. We haven't quite settled into a new dinner time routine yet and some nights it just feels awkward.

I'm sorry that this post is so unorganized. I just needed to write a few things down and this seemed like the way to do it. I do appreciate all the kind comments and emails and IM's that have been sent my way. Thank you all so very much.

1 comment:

xtine said...

Heh. I see that you have no comments on this post, so the tardiness of this one will stick out especially. Sorry about that.

I don't know what to say, except: ♥