My grandfather died yesterday. For the last two years, it was my job to take care of him. He had dementia, and for the last few months he was bedridden. It was a slow decline. He was just 'there' less and less, and more and more often lost in his own memories and anxieties. At the end, he couldn't talk, couldn't eat, couldn't drink, and could barely breathe. These last few days, he wasn't really here. And now, he's gone.
I really miss him.
We never talked enough. I had plenty of opportunities to pick his brain- for the last year, I lived in the same room as him, so I would always be on call. I was in that room the majority, really nearly all, of my time. So I had plenty of opportunities to know him better, which I squandered.
This is what I do know. He was a WWII veteran, stationed in Australia. I don't think he never saw combat, but army life was plenty dangerous even without people actively shooting at you. He was very much against racism- in fact, I once saw him come to tears at how African Americans were treated when he was growing up. He liked country music, and the Atlanta Braves. He had sympathies with both the University of Alabama and with Auburn, and you have to be from Alabama to understand what that means. After the war, he worked for the Social Security Administration, and retired a supervisor, I think. Maybe higher. He was raised religious, but was fairly agnostic in later years. He didn't talk much, but could hit you with a deep witticism out of left field when you weren't expecting it. He was an expert at pushing the buttons of his children.
He was a good, human man, with all the attendant flaws, and I loved him. And I really, really miss him.
Now that he has passed, my reason for, and my means of, being in the Asheville area have disappeared. I will probably be moving back to Pennsylvania, to stay with my mother for a while, either late October or late November. I have a project going on right now that I'll talk about in a later post, and whether or not that works will determine how long I stay. It is possible I'll get a job and a place to live in Asheville, and I will be looking, but I'm not overly optimistic. Add to that that I haven't been able to sleep at all tonight, and I am not overly burdened with bright and cheery thoughts.
I don't know what's going to happen, or what I'm going to do. And my head is not in a good place to boldly embrace the future. I need to remind myself that it is not seeing clearly. All sorts of things could happen. I might even teach that damned horse to fly.