i can't handle it

sorabji.com: Do you have any regrets?: i can't handle it

By wisper on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 04:19 am:

    my dad found 2 old scrapbooks of stuff from when he was young, covering elementary school to his move to college. I'll talk about these more some other time, there is really great and classic stuff in them and i'm so glad they exist.
    But i'm in my childhood bedroom right now, crying quietly so no one can hear me. And it's sort of retarded so i'm filling space in this blank white box to get the thoughts out of my head so i can stop. Release.

    I found a birthday card which at first seemed to be a straightforward "Happy Birthday Son" kinda thing but under the signature it said (over) and it was one of those cards that you can unfold and it's just blank on the inside, on the back of the printed side, which seemed to be prevalent in the 60's with thinner paper rather than the cardstock they have now. Anyway the whole unfolded paper was covered in a note written by dad's mom, just talking about what she and dad's father had been up to lately. She talked about how she got her hair done and how hard it was without him being home and.... Nope, i can't even do it. Even if i let my mind wander in that direction again for just a second, tears burst.

    Anyway this is by no means the greatest family tragedy in the history of the world. No one was molested or beaten or anything, there's no dark secret here. On a scale of 1 to 10 it's probably not even a 2. Just a whole lot of depressing stuff and guilt and fear. Like everyone has.

    So this was written obviously the first year my dad went away to school and his birthday is in October so he would have been gone for 2 months at that point. His mom is just saying how hard it is without him around (they adopted him, he was their only kid). This reminded me that when *I* moved out mom told me that dad took it pretty hard and said he never understood why his parents were so weird about it but when i left he finally understood how much parents miss their kids when the leave. Awww.

    So i thought about how i never knew them- dad's parents. I don't even know their names. His mom was a nun but the monasteries in the 1930's were hardcore and she was frail and her body couldn't take the schedule so she left and was by all accounts a sweet and open and kind lady and everything good that a deeply religious person can be. She died when i was 9, that was the first funeral i ever went to.
    Still, not the point of this.

    The point is that dad's dad was fine for a long time but got worse and worse mentally as the years went by. And when i was 14 or 15 they flew him out here for god knows what reason and he was conscious of almost nothing. He just wandered the house like a ghost whith no idea who we were or where he was or anything. You couldn't even talk to him. And i was terrified the whole time, because he would wander around at night too and open doors so for the full week (or 2?) since my bedroom door had no lock on it, i lined up a bunch of books and boxes in a row from my bed frame to the door so it could not be opened from the outside. It was blocked. And he would still try to open it and would be pushing it and kinda moaning too but the stack of stuff kept it closed. And i was basically living in my bedroom like a hermit, i would eat in there too. I can remember all this more vividly than other things since i spent the time writing long notes (with drawing and diagrams of my door-locking system and pile of hermit stuff) to my best friend at the time, and she still has these.

    The point is that this is all i remember of him. Locking myself in my bedroom for 2 weeks to avoid the shell he had become. All i've got is grandma= no memories, grandpa= Alzheimer's zombie. And that realization combined with the totally heartfelt note found in the birthday card from over 40 years ago fucking broke me instantly and i had to get upstairs to the very bedroom in question to purge these thoughts.

    Having that happen to anyone close to you, i don't know how anyone deals with it. I don't know how my dad did it, i don't know how i'll deal with it if i have to. I can't. It's horrific.
    He died a few years later and i couldn't go to the funeral because heeeeeeey it was my first year at college.

    I am even more afraid of it happening to me. I hope and wish and beg and almost fear enough to pray that it never happens to me. At the first sign of Alzheimer's i hope i still have the mental capacity to kill myself :( The idea is too scary to think about.
    Well, i stopped crying.

By TBone on Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 02:17 pm:

    At least you know now that your grandparents were more than ghosts. It's hard to deal with that, especially when you're still a kid. I had a fairly similar experience with my grandfather at about the same time in my life. He had been living with us for a few years, but had a stroke and got mean and confused. My only memory of my grandmother on the same side is of her looking sad in her recliner, giving me chocolate. She was bipolar, and a bad case. When she was down, she didn't get out of her chair.

By Antigone on Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 02:43 pm:

    My grandmother on my dad's side had a bit 'o' the crazy in her too. (bipolar, most likely) Her last few years weren't horribly lucid. My grandfather took care of her for the last 6 years of her life, and the last thing she did before she died was kick him in bed. :P

    After she died I asked him, "What do you feel like doing?" I thought he'd say, "Get a glass of milk" or something. Instead he said, "travel!" :)

    So, since then he's gone to England, Arizona, Michigan, and Texas. He also remarried at the age of 92 and recently grown a beard for the first time in his life. (The beard thing may seem trite, but it's a sea change for my grandfather. :) )

    So there you have two examples. Old age doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, and there's always hope for renewal.

By Dr Pepper on Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 10:04 pm:

    It is 1 degree outside, and I can't handle the weather anymore. but there is a slim hope of change of weather pretty soon, the temp will go into teens to thirty something. Please' let it warm! I am depressed already, but I am gratefully that it is sunny outside. Gloomy cloudy do tend me being depressed.I hated cold weather. And my daughter already missed her mother, her little brother and her stepdad. I spend some morning after waking up or some night before going to sleep looking at the picture of my son, he passed away ten months ago due to the Tornado in Tennssee.
    When the Tornado tore down ,they were on the path of Tornado, My ex Mother in law called the sheriff asking them for a ride down the road where her daughter lives, she got a call from her granddaughter saying that she got a call from her mother saying the Tornado's coming . She told her mother to go down to Grandma's house for safety. But, after the Tornado passed. My daughter's grandmother tried to call my daughter's mother phone. nothing happened and then the sheriff came to pick the grandmother to take her down the road hopefully to see her daughter, her son-in-law and her grandson. But to her dismay that the doublewide mobile home were wiped out of the ground and saw the debris allover to learn that it was knocked over two trees. a hundred yards from where it stood leaving a porch and three car remain untouch, except for the windshield damaged.
    I can't stand it anymore when the memories keeps coming back when I saw my brother came to my work asking me to come home, memories haunting me and it scare the hell out of me to learn the death of my son, his mother and her second husband.
    I have spend year worry about winter time in north, and worry about tornado season in Tennessee.


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