I woke in tears, and that hasn’t happened for a long long time. The tears stopped a little while ago but I think they’ll be intermittent today as I process …
I dreamt we were out doing ‘normal’ shit and I felt lost … not completely unsafe … just that lost, looking for home kinda feeling.
So I went into my grandfathers old room, in the old house. The bed was made and had the hideous maroon coloured bed spread on it. But it was made like my Nan makes it, all tucked up tight. I think I was wanting to curl up in there and listen to him read Me the Bible. I used to do that as a kid … listening to at least an hours worth of Psalms or Proverbs, his favourites :) I felt safe there. Perfectly safe. And perfectly loved.
But he wasn’t there. And I realised he wasn’t coming back cos he’s dead and I can’t see him or touch him – here – anymore. The tears started flowing in my dream, and they continued when I woke up.
You know when you’re half asleep, half awake, and you can feel something dawning on you … like some deep relevant revelation? Or does that just happen to Me ;) … Well that was happening as I was wiping tears and looking for my snot rag.
I got snippets of my Grandfather, his garden, him working, him cooking, him sitting watching TV doing his ‘invoices’ … and then I saw him crying … when I told him what had happened to Me as a child at the hands of his child. He had big silent tears spilling down his face that day, and I had never seen him cry before. He whispered that He was sorry and touched my hand. He looked sad and ashamed.
I understand now, as a grandparent, the love you have for your grandchildren … and the ache that comes from knowing that they’ve been hurt.
My Grandfather was My Man … the Man in my life that meant something; that I knew loved Me. I am eternally grateful that I had at least one Man be that person for Me.
As all that was churning over in my gutt / mind / heart … I felt a pang of something/s … think it was emotion … The neglect of my father … No safe space … No safe place anymore … and Not grieving the loss of my Grandfathers Face and Space after he left this world.
I’ve written about losing him before, but I can’t be bothered finding the link …
When my Grandfather was dying, we were all a bit in disbelief … I think because we thought he would somehow live forever … he was so strong, and determined, and organised lol, pretty sure death wasn’t on the agenda for that particular week! Certainly wasn’t for Me anyways.
I remember getting the call in the night. My Mama didn’t want to disturb us and it turned out that my Grandfathers heart had stopped the night before but they had resuscitated him. When she rang to let us know what was happening, I booked flights and we left the next morning. It was an 8 hour drive and like 4 hours to the morning flight. Simple choice.
Diversion: This was the last comfortable flight I took. I remember that awkward butterfly feeling in my gutt when we were landing in what they believe is an aeroplane; I think it is a tin can with wings … and knowing that this day was going to be an ending. I thought then that it was hopefully just something that would happen that was unpleasant, but we’d move on ok. Deep down though, I knew it was a life changer. And this feeling or whatever it is … comes at times when shit gets real. It’s uncomfortable and I want to run from it.
Duly noted …
When we got up to the hospital, my Grandfather looked tired … he looked uncomfortable and I knew he wanted to go home. He was trying to make jokes and make everyone feel Ok. And by in large, it was working. Everyone was in a blissful state of denial … even I felt a little warmed by it.
The pedo cunt was there, since he is the son of. What a bastard. But that is / was the story of my life … of everyone’s really. They all put up with him … at everything … on every occasion … because he was / is … family pfft. He raved on about putting down animals that are dying and that if Grandad was an animal he’d be put to sleep. That cunt and my Mama had the final say in whether my Grandfather was resuscitated again or not. They talked facts … I wanted to take him home.
Isn’t Home what we want when we feel uncomfortable or in need of love, or something safe or good? Even if Home isn’t all of those things; or even if Home doesn’t technically exist? It’s a feeling … a yearning … a belonging. Home. And that’s where my Grandfather needed to be … dying or not … he needed to be at home. But they wouldn’t let us take him home and no-one, including myself, had the grit to argue with those medical wankers at that stage.
So instead, we sat with Grandad, and read Him the Bible.
They told us we couldn’t give him anything to drink, but we didn’t listen to that bullshit and gave him whatever he wanted … which was chocolate milk lol of all things … I don’t think I’d ever seen him drink chocolate milk. But we gave it to him, because he was the Man that gave Us everything!!
He slept fitfully and we kept reading to him.
One of those inhospitable nurses, who was near the end of her shift no doubt, came in and told us we should be telling him what we needed too .. You know, last rites, last confessionals … all the things you wished you had of said but didn’t. I got then, that my Grandfather was dying, that his organs were slowly shutting down. But I could’ve punched that bitch for her attitude.
We continued reading to him.
You see, Grandad was a Man of very few words. But when he spoke, he said what he meant and he didn’t say it twice. This was no time for deep confessions or ‘I wish I had’ve …’ ; this was the time He Needed Us and Would Never Admit It.
In the meantime the pedo cunt decided he wanted to go home and get some clothes and the nurse warned him that his father may be not be alive when he got back so not to mess around.
None of Us gave a shit how long that cunt left for … and secretly hoped he crashed on the way to wherever he was going and never came back.
That was a God Send … if you believe in those. The pedo cunt left. I saw in him no shred of stamina. No shred of self sacrificial love for another. But I didn’t give a shit … I just wanted him to go away. And away he went. Finally.
Not more than an hour later Grandad woke up and looked like he was alright, but having not been around a whole lot of dying people before, we didn’t realise it was like a last rush. The bitch nurse (who was probably really nice, but I didn’t give a shit bout her either …) said he was going to die – go and wake up my daughter to come say goodbye.
At this stage everyone kind of went into shock I think. My poor Mama was trying to fuss around as our pizza had arrived; my youngest daughter started crying …
I went an achey blue cold. I can’t describe it any other way.
I didn’t want to be there. Like the prelude to a panic attack … Anywhere but here. But at the same time, I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world other than next to the only Man that loved Me completely.
In that achey blue cold state, I kind of snapped at my Mama and told her to tell Grandad she loved him. I ordered my youngest daughter to go wake up my eldest daughter … Now, and drag her here Now … and Fast. My eldest was pregnant with our first moko and was just pregnant tired. My youngest did as she was told for a change … I think it was my tone.
They started crying when they got back to Grandad and I understood why. And usually I’d encouraged it. But my beautiful Grandfather was a war veteran … a man who hardly ever cried … that was extremely uncomfortable with emotion and with the discomfort of others.
I told them to suck it up. To tell Grandad they loved Him and that He was a good Man. I told him He had done a fine job of being a father, grandfather and great-grandfather and now he could leave and we would be alright.
And the light in his big blue eyes went out.
And as the rest of the proceedings came and went … the phone calls, the death-mobile and all their papers and shit … the wheeling him out … telling them that we wanted him to be brought home (which was against his wishes, but not really .. I figured he wanted to go home before hand, and this was the least we could do ..) … the pedo cunt showing up again … me, mama and my girls all sleeping together in the same room that night … all waking up sobbing … feeling the end of an era fall on the whole house … the funeral … the tears … the numbness … for months until I half pie cracked one afternoon and sobbed till it hurt … and then the years that have gone by and I can’t even remember when he died … the date, the year, the time … but that moment when his light left was the moment something else left.
My Safe Place.
He was it. He was my father, my grandfather, my love, my safety, my teacher, my Man.
And then I got scared. And there was nowhere to go.
And this morning as I was wiping away snot and tears, I realised this was when my world came unhinged so to speak. I didn’t have a lot anyway … but what was good, was in him.What was safe, was in him. What was the calm in the storm, was in him. And i didn’t know how to re-orientate myself.
I still don’t.
But now I know.
And it hurts like fucking shit.
So I’ll let the tears run today and maybe I’ll light Grandad a candle … I’ll sit with all this today and feel that filthy great big lump in my throat and that ugly grief feeling in my puku.
I’ll let it do its thing.