10/26/2005

But seriously folks...

When I write blog posts, I try to conjure up all the honesty and wittiness I can muster. Sometimes I'm successful, other times I'm just so ambivalent the resulting post clearly suffers. My post today is a serious one, and one which I will probably not succeed in conveying into words what I would like to say. I don't expect many comments on this because there isn't much anyone would be able to say, but it is something I felt I had to do.

Two years ago today my maternal grandfather, the only grandparent I'd ever known, died. He was 89 and had been ill on and off for about five years, so it came of no surprise. The Dude and I joke that he was finally released from my Mom's constant impassioned pleas of, "Please Pru, call/visit/write your grandfather, he won't be around much longer" which peppered each year of my life from the age of 12. The poor man was classified as nearly dead for 13 years despite being in relatively fine health until his mid-80s.

My grandfather lived in Arizona, and I in Pennsylvania until I moved to the UK, so I wasn't able to see him often. When I still lived in the States I talked to him weekly, and even as he got older and his body failed him to previously unknown heights, his mind was sharp and his wit even sharper. He had a tremendously dry sense of humour, one which, as an old man, some people interpreted as cantankerousness. Most people would look baffled when he would attempt to be funny, unsure whether to crack a smile and nod their heads at the confused old man, or pretend he said nothing at all.

I have a younger brother who is 5 years my junior, who my grandfather designated "The Chump". I, of course, was "Princess" (stop puking into your hats. I'm darling!). My brother was at one time "The Champ"--good grades, athletic, and a good churchgoing kid. Somewhere it all went wrong- the grades declined, the sports decreased in number, and church was a trial rather than a pleasure, hence his new designation of "The Chump". In his gruff voice, my grandfather stood up at a family reunion, with dozens gathered around this aged patriarch and said, "These are my only grandchildren. This beautiful young lady is my Princess. I'm so proud of her. This boy is my grandson. He used to be called 'The Champ' but now I just call him 'The Chump'." There was an awkward silence as everyone looked at each other, unsure as to how to react. I ruined the moment by laughing hysterically and mocking my humiliated brother. My brother saw the humour, reluctantly, and my grandfather looked over at me and winked.

It was difficult for my grandfather to cope with getting older. He was always being rushed to the hospital for cuts and bumps due to attempting to carry out things he could no longer manage to do, like pick oranges from the tree in the backyard, do basic DIY around the house, and play golf, which he loved. He was infuriated that he could no longer do much aside from sit in his armchair and read or watch sports on TV. One of his few joys was his evening bowl of ice cream with his Chow, Candy. He and Candy would each settle down with a bowl of ice cream every night, generally the standard strawberry, vanilla or chocolate, and put on a baseball or golf game.

Old age wasn't what he thought it would be. My Mom used to tell me about his periodic bouts of depression because he hated what he had become, but he was also terrified of dying. Talking to him after learning this made me horribly sad, as he always put up such a strong, confident front. I often wished that his mind would decline as well so he would be less aware of his ailing health, but even moments before he died he was cracking jokes to my step-grandmother.

A few weeks ago I dug out the last letter he wrote to me which said, "I think it's about time old grandad rides that trusty old steed into the sunset". Not long after that he passed away. He died on the 26th, and my birthday is also on the 26th day of a month, albeit July. When my Mom told me that he had died, I told her that I wasn't surprised that he passed on the 26th. "The Chump" was born on the 27th of July, and he certainly wouldn't want to go on the day of The Chump.

In honour of him, I thought I'd put this picture of him on my blog. He is as he would want to be remembered - young, strong, and rather dashing if I do say so myself. I love this photograph.

Because I am completely irrational and slightly crazy, I will interpret the importance of the 26th day of the month as a sign. I was born on the 26th day of July, my grandpa passed on the 26th of October, and here I am on the 26th day of October two years later, starting my meds for IVF #1. I'm not suggesting anything kooky, just that this significance might bring me a bit of luck. I do know that if I do get pregnant this cycle and it sticks, my child would likely possess at least a bit of his or her great-grandfather's black sense of humour. I wouldn't have it any other way.

21 comments:

Manuela said...

FAB-u-lous photo... yes... very dashing indeed.

And... I too would certainly take note of the relevance of the 26th...

Here's hoping all goes well with round #1.

ms pickled eggs said...

Good luck with the upcoming IVF. That Puregon looks like good shit!

tania said...

Oh, Pru you've got me crying.

My grandpa (who will/would be 90 in February) is dying. My dad brought him into the ER on Friday night, Saturday they told him his kidneys were beginning to fail and there was nothing to do to help him.

And I know part of him wants to go. He misses my grandma soooo much. But he keeps talking about the fact that there are still so many things he wants to do.

I live 4.5 hours away and don't see or talk to him nearly as much as I should. I went down on Sunday to see him and came back Tuesday. He still looks great at this point and is fairly well aware of his surroundings. I think he is a bit ofa beloved character among those with whom eh crosses path. My dad went to the bank to straighten things out, and grandpa's banker was crying...

I may go back again next week if he is still lucid to see him. If he's in really rough shape and won't know I'm there, I'll probably wait for the funeral. Funny how it's hard regardless of how old they are adn how much you know their time has come.

I think the 26th is a very important date and sure to be an excellent omen for you. I can't remember from your post if your grandpa had a cool name - let's hope that he did so that if this cycle works and you have a boy you can perhaps incoporate your granddad's name...

Good luck!

Kim said...

Thank you for writing about your grandfather. I'm in awe of these strong men who went to war, came home and built a life for themselves.

I wish I could rewind the clock back to when I was a kid and could get away with running up to my Grandpa with a hug and a kiss. And I could tell him I love him and he would smile.

Jenn said...

You got me crying too. I've written about my Pop-Pop several times and he's now going through that depression of being less indepentant. Last week he said he felt like a second class citizen. Breaks my heart.

Lindy said...

Thank you for sharing that Pru. The photo really reminds me of pictures of my own grandfather from WW II. It's hard to imagine all that they went through at such a young age.

It's so wonderful that you have letters to remember him by.

And wishing you the best with the new cycle!

Ova Girl said...

Very dashing Pru, indeed.

A great post. I think the 26th is a very significant date. Good luck! You're on your way!

Molly said...

I loved this post. I have one remaining grandparent, and I hope she lives to meet her first great-grandchild.

It is a good omen. And I have good feelings about this cycle. Have faith!

P.S. - Your grandpa's hot.

mm said...

What a looker. Fabulous photo, fabulous post. Good luck!!

laura said...

I love your way of thinking. I think it must be a good omen. I found myself attaching onto all sorts of good luck omens and signs this cycle, and as far as I can tell, they were right-on!

April said...

He was quite handsome.

I'm hoping everything for you.

And what a beautiful, beautiful post.

fisher queen said...

That was a nice post. He is *very* dashing.

cat said...

Handsome gent he certainly is. May his spirit live on in your offspring very soon.

Lisa said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. Men didn't tend to stick around in my family so I grew up with no father and no grandfathers. I don't miss that I didn't have a Dad, but whenever I see little girls with their Grandpas I feel a little sad for me and happy for them.

Good luck - I hope everything goes just as you hope it will. The Princess deserves it!

zhl said...

Oh, I'm so into the signs. I think that sounds quite auspicious.

Loved the photo. Did he share a lot of stories about when he was in the army? I love to hear stories of "when they were young."

Lori said...

Your grandfather looks as dashing as mine did. Love those WWII photos.
My grandfather's birthdate was 5/12 and mine is 12/5 - I always thought that meant we had a special bond. And when he was buried on my birthday, I felt that was a special honor. So I definitely think the date is a good sign of things to come.

Wavery said...

You did him right, lovely post.

T said...

Lovely! I love my grandfather (d.2000) too - I believe I got a lot of my curmudgeonness (well it's a word NOW) from him. Good luck with stims!

elle said...

Oh Pru, that made me all teary! What a beautiful tribute (and what a hottie ;). I don't think that's crazy at all - I mean, the day of the Chump indeed, the 26th IS special. Hoping it brings you that special dbl line.

erinberry said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Your grandfather was a handsome man.

The 26th is significant for us too - My husband's b-day is 26 Oct, our legal ceremony was 26 Dec, and our "real" wedding was 26 July.

Tessie said...

He certainly IS dashing, and in fact THAT is the word I SHOULD have used in my post, instead of HOT. What is WRONG with me?

I'm so sorry you lost him.