Some follow-up may be required. Last weekend saw a trip to Wisconsin for my Grandmother's memorial. Yes, she died back around New Year's, but the family made the call (an overall wise one, in my opinion) to hold the memorial event with a lot of notice, making it easier for people to come from far and wide, with the added bonus of not needing to contend with last winter's unremitting frigidity. Which was wonderful in its way, but which of course carried a certain amount of grief, sadness, pain, and family agita (always a healthy dose of family agita).
And, because fate is bitter and mocks us all, a few days before the trip, one of my friends from growing up lost his battle with depression and killed himself. I can't bring myself to call it luck, but the circumstance of being out there meant that - while still prevented from attending his memorial, I was able to pay my respects to his father and brother, and take said brother out for drinks on a night when I think it's fair to say he could use some out-of-the-house amusement, or at least distraction.
As if that weren't enough (it was quite enough, thank you very much) my extremely-robust-but-there-ain't-no-getting-around-it-OLD Grandfather, who mourns in a way that I don't suppose anyone who hasn't been married for over 70 years can really identify with, had a couple health events of his own. The first happened the day he arrived: after a 14-hour drive, he and Mom stopped at my aunt's house for supper. On a trip to the bathroom he stumbled, lost his balance, and fell into the tub - had to go to the emergency room for X Rays. No real damage, but he scraped the hell out of his arms so it was good he was in a place where he could get them bandaged by a pro. Then, the day after the memorial, which was a celebration but still heartbreaking, a group of us went out for breakfast and grandpa had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, sometimes imperfectly referred to as a mini-stroke) about two-thirds of the way through his french toast. His 8-yr-old great-granddaughter (my niece, shown feeding that calf in the last post) was sitting right across from him, eating french toast of her own, and I have to say she held it together remarkably well as I went over and got his attention, helped ease him back to alertness, went through some of the "rule out a for-reals stroke" steps, unhinged his fingers from his coffee cup, and got him standing and out into the parking lot with my cousin Wally.
That fresh air did him good right away, as he recovered from the overheated sweat he’d broken into. But of course it also meant another trip to the hospital, which he wanted about as much as a hole in the head. Once we got him there, kicking and screaming, the visit went about as well as it could have, and it only took a small chunk out of what was going to be our last day in that part of the state before he headed east with one of his daughters. And Cory and I headed to Madison to take care of the understandably unhinged friend whose brother had died the week before.
So that happened. And believe it or not, I’m leaving out some of the nastiest stuff. Now it’s Friday the 13th and it’s raining. Ruby Dee died, almost exactly the same age as my Grandmother, and I’m listening to some Duke Ellington and we’re seeing Macbeth tonight because fuck curses and fuck bad luck. Power poses all around.