Losing In April

April 27, 2004

I knew that the 22th was the day I lost my grandfather, 10 years ago. His oldest sister died on April 24th of this year. I’m going to her funeral this morning, seeing people who I haven’t seen since my Grandfather died.

It almost seems like a different world. I was just recently unenployed, going to school full time and working at building a music career. In true form, most of my days were in the art of fucking off. Going to school from 10 am until 3, coming home and doing nothing, but watching TV and playing music with friends. I was headstrong, but had no direction in life and was constantly under the thumb of my Grandfather.

I roughly remember working side-by-side with him when our basement flooded and just shocked at how much he aged in just three months. I was rarely home, between school and gigs and just the sight of him at the doorway and seeing his graying red hair, turning completely gray and just seeing the life escaping him, is something I remember.

His last few months weren’t the greatest. He did yard work, went camping, but he started to feel bad with no energy and would just spend hours on the couch. After a month or two of this, he went to the doctor. On April the 20th, 1994 we found out he had leukemia. Knowing my Grandfather, he really didn’t want people to take care of him. So we all silently prepared to pitch in and do what we needed to do.

On Friday the 22nd, I awoke to my Grandfather having a hard time getting out of bed (due to pain meds) to go to a Doctor’s appointment and to their lawyer to create a will. I had to be at school, so my uncle called paramedics to get him to the Doc’s. While I was at school and while Papaw was on the way to the Doctor’s, a blood clot broke loose and went to his lungs, stopping his breathing and sending him into cardiac arrest. They had him in the emergency room, trying a little longer to revive him because he had such a good heart. But unfortunately, their work didn’t revive him and he died.

While this was going on, I was sitting in Ms. Potett’s Biology class and had this feeling something was wrong. So I made the 45 minute drive back to home and noticed that the kitchen table was moved (didn’t know that the paramedics had been there) and that no one was around. So I stuck around, scared shitless, for a while then headed out for lunch and picked up a magazine.

By the time I headed back, everyone else returned home and waited for me to arrive. I no sooner than walked in the door, than one of my uncles just looked at me and reached out and said, “Your Grandfather Died”….

It was such a surreal scene, I wasn’t emotional yet and just started thinking about what his death meant. So sat down, while we waited for others to arrive and read some of my magazine, processing everything. The man who raised me died: the breadwinner, the anchor, the asskicker, all in one. I broke down.

The true thoughts and what exactly he meant to my life, never really came up until the time around my marriage, some 7 years later. I wrote about him{.liinternal}, around the time a lot of those emotions started coming back. I missed him every day, and always tried to find some way to remember him.

He still brings a lot to my personality, probably more of my grumpiness than anything else. I never learned from him, what I want to know now. But I learned about being a man, making due with the hand you’re dealt, respecting nature, and just being a good person. And while April is a bad month for my family, just knowing what I’ve learned makes it better.