Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Table of Contents

My grandpa, who was 90 years of age, passed away today.

That means he was 60 when I was born and he knew me for a third of his lifespan. Although the evidence that was laid out before us on the cafeteria table proved that I did not know him well at all.

There before us, were the contents of his wallet. We had disassembled it carefully to find all the necessary items, a bright collage of medical contacts, credit cards, and photographs. Among all this was a piece of cardboard containing a small notch cut out, a space big enough so that his failing eyes and fingers could write his name out in a contained fashion. My uncle decided to take these for his own ailing writing abilities.

No one cared to claim the carefully folded 5 and 1 dollar bills.

I took the opportunity to investigate the card of a woman with an area telephone code that had changed long ago. She was no longer the contact but more than likely the one who sold him the Simplicity Plan: cremation, all paid in advance, although no memorial service arrangements, which will be discussed tomorrow morning upon our meeting with them. The lady I did talk to was coincidentally about to give my uncle a call. Sitting right next to me, he has never and never will use a cell phone, and so I gladly made all the connections.

After all these things were removed, and all the information extracted and parsed, mom looked at the leather container with it's empty pockets, and began one of many instances of not being able to talk.

When we had arrived at the hospital earlier, my uncle appeared in the door on the second floor and led us down the hall where I saw him for about 30 seconds, in a brightly lit room. The static of apparatuses were still filling the air but it was clear that their functions had come to an end.

And so, as it had earlier in the day, the shaking resumed it's course. Mom's heartbeat raced to an odd more desperate meter all it's own. Voices trembled, hands rumbled, eyes glistened as if they were no longer solid forms in the head but bags of liquid, taut and weak and ready to melt away.

I kept waiting for it to hit me, as it had my sister, so far away from here. As it did my uncle, the trembling giant in blue plaid. As it did my for grandpa's lady, who was not his wife, but in every sense was more so than many married couples I can recall. As it did for her, who had heard all the machines began to beep and whir, assuming the worst and causing us to think he had expired earlier in the day.

The time, of course, did not matter.

But the feeling of sadness never arrived. In it's place, where others found distress, I found solace in that perfect distillation of a moment where he lay. I was at ease to find him finally at ease.


Paul said...

Please accept my sympathies for your loss. Life continues.

Lee said...

My condolences to you and your family.

Sharon said...

I'm sorry to read of his passing.

Your thoughts was beautifully written.

Taylor The Latte Boy said...

I agree with Sharon. A beautifully written essay that clearly shows respect and love for your grandfather.

Anything we can do for you, please let us know


Brad said...

I'm wishing you and your family strength to get through a very tough time. Take care.

Cully said...

My condolences to you and your mom.

Marty Gilbert said...

My thoughts are with you. that was written better than anything i have read from you. thats some emotion you should color and paint with

cb said...

Even though you are okay with everything, I'm still sorry that you had to endure it.

David said...

A beautiful tribute. May his memory be a blessing to you.

Kris said...

I am sorry for your loss. My condolences for you and your mom and sis.