catslash: (tek! credit zeenith)
( Oct. 29th, 2007 12:16 am)
Grandpa, the whole time you were alive, your Red Sox won the World Series once. Just once in your almost eighty-three years.

Tonight they won their second title in four years. I wish you were here to see it. I love you.
catslash: (Kenny)
( Aug. 24th, 2007 10:44 pm)
Buffy: Was it sudden? Your mother?
Tara: No. Yes. It's always sudden.

I realized it's been a week since my last post, so I thought I'd post to let you all know that I'm still around and sane. I haven't collapsed into a grief-stricken catatonia or anything. I'm doing okay - lot going on to keep me busy, with the still newish job and all.

I saw my doctor last week to address some back problems I've had for years but haven't been too bad, until this job. The way I stand when I'm washing dishes or making pizza or a hundred other things is exactly the posture that makes it flare up, and it's aggravated so badly now that I have to stop working every now and then to bend over and try to stretch it out a little. He gave me some exercises to do to strengthen the muscles, so hopefully that will help.

We also discussed my ADD medication. I was taking Adderall, which has such a short life that I found myself occasionally taking a second dose to keep the effects through my nine-hour shifts. I have ADD, and the medication really helps to keep me focused. I thought about it and realized that even though I won't be working the long shifts during the semester, I'm going to have some long days on campus where a single dose just wouldn't cut it. I was thinking of perhaps altering my prescription to include a second smaller dose, but instead he put me on Adderall XR. It does what Adderall does, but it lasts hours longer, plus it doesn't hit my bloodstream like a quadruple espresso delivered by a Mack truck. (Seriously, that first hour or so after a dose? Exactly what you'd expect speed to be like. I do not miss it.) It's so much better than the regular Adderall. I'm really happy with it.

And then a few days later I got my hair cut into possibly the best cut I've ever had. It's just a simple chin-length layered bob, but it is insanely flattering and perfect for the type of hair I had. The stylist commented on how she didn't have to do any real styling because it fell right into place. Then I went home and dyed it auburn, which is also working really nicely. There will be photos when I can find the motivation to snap a million of them.

(Side note: I kept my hair black for about four years, from sixteen to twenty. No reason [read: it was not a wannabe goth phase] - I just liked it. Grandpa hated it. It wasn't natural. He always had something to say about it whenever he saw me, but I blew it off, because whatever, my hair. Once he even offered to give me a kelly green t-shirt of his if I would dye my hair that color. I suspect he'd like the auburn better, by which I mean he'd say, "At least it's not black. That looked awful." Thank goodness none of us grandkids ever had the urge to go pink or blue.)

Work is work. I like the job pretty well, but I think I'd fall asleep typing about it and you'd all skip reading it. Suffice it to say that I work with some great people, I get to work with food, and it beats the everloving hell out of my old job.

Classes start again on Monday. I am so excited. I've been looking forward to them since about two weeks after last semester ended, because it turns out that when I am learning voluntarily, I am a giant school geek. Plus, I have some cool classes. I'm taking Intro to Theater (which is an English credit, score), Sport Psychology (the entire reason I took Psych was because it was a prereq for this class), and Spanish II. I am also taking Biology to fulfill the science requirement, which bleah, I hated Bio in high school and needed three tries to pass it because my apathy ran deep, and I'm taking it on Saturdays in like three hour chunks plus labs so double bleah, but, since I go to a community college and they hire a lot of retired teachers and the like, the instructor is actually a teacher I had in high school! I liked him. All, um, two or three or eighteen times I had him until I finally passed a class to get the science credit. (Getting the science credits I needed to graduate high school was like pulling teeth. I was having problems with major burnout from then-undiagnosed ADD. I took math at the dummy level all three years I had to take it and was able to cruise through and get high enough grades to pass without a ton of effort, but the science classes needed more effort than I was willing/able to put into them.) Poor Mr Willink. I hope he didn't cry when he saw my name on the list. If nothing else, I will do my best in Biology because I owe him that much. He certainly put up with more than enough nonsense from me a few years ago.

I think that's about it, all the major stuff going on in the past week or next week. Also, I love Magglio Ordonez. You know, when Clemens was with the Astros, I was Rocket Poison. He lost every start that I watched, listened to, or thought about. I wonder if that still holds true.
catslash: (elevator Huckabees)
( Aug. 12th, 2007 11:21 pm)
Just a quick post to say: I'm okay. And thank you so much to everyone who replied to my post about my grandfather. I was surprised and touched by the compliments to my eloquence. I hadn't set out to write a eulogy; I was just writing things down as they came. I'm just glad they apparently came out well.

The memorial service was on Thursday. It was nice, family and friends. It wasn't overly formal, just friendly and sincere; the minister even told a joke relating to Grandpa's being a Red Sox fan. Grandpa was in the military, too, so there were a couple of soldiers (witness my total ignorance of military parlance!) there to perform a ceremony to honor him. They played Taps, which made me pretty much break down for a minute or two, and then folded a flag, with careful and solemn precision that Grandpa would have very much appreciated (I'm not especially patriotic, but thanks to Grandpa, I know how to treat a flag and it galls me to see one treated incorrectly), and presented it to Grandma. Then there was a gathering at Grandma's afterward.

And since then, work has eaten my brain. Tomorrow will be my fourth consecutive nine-hour shift, and then I have Tuesday off, thank god. I actually like this job - I work at an Italian sandwich shop - so it's not nine hours of hell or anything, it's just very tiring. And the walk home is mostly uphill. So I get home exhausted, RP some, and then I go to bed and of course have trouble falling asleep. I haven't had time to think of much else other than work.

Okay, and eerie: I am IMing with my aunt right now. The thing is, she's still at Grandma's, and Grandma is not computer savvy. Grandpa was the only one who went online, and they have AOL. So, yes, the first time I saw Grandpa's screenname pop up on my buddy list a couple days ago was very disconcerting. And it's upsetting to see it and know that it's not him and never will be again. I probably won't see it again after my aunt goes home, but I don't want it to go away either. I don't know.

So maybe I'm not as okay as I thought. I guess work eating my brain has been doing me a favor. But I'm dealing. It's the same thing everyone goes through when a loved one dies.
catslash: (Default)
( Aug. 6th, 2007 11:14 pm)
I don't really want to post about this, but if I keep putting it off I'm just going to feel silly when I do bring it up.

So. My grandfather died yesterday.

This is not, all in all, a bad thing. He had emphysema, which took years in killing him slowly, whittling his strong body down to skin and bones as it worked harder and harder just to breathe. When I was a child, he would hug us grandchildren so hard that it hurt; a year and a half ago, when I stayed with my grandparents after having my wisdom teeth out, I watched as it took him an hour to get from the couch to his bedroom upstairs. Stubborn man that he was, he held on much longer than we all expected him to. He was always very independent (I offered once, during that stay, to make him some toast, a task which would have taken me five minutes, but he preferred to take the half hour to do it for himself while he still could), and having to rely on my grandmother to do simple things for him as his body withered away and lost the ability to keep up with his mind was painful and degrading for him.

But - he was my grandfather. And in these past couple of years, I discovered how well we clicked. He was stiff and austere and very awkward about emotional matters, and the stories I heard from my mother about his less-than-nurturing parenting style were, I suppose, subtly discouraging, but he and I? We understood each other. We shared awkwardness and a dry sense of humor and an interest in history - I must be the only grandchild who sat and listened when he talked about the history of our home area and his time in the military. He tried hard to teach me how to have a backbone and financial sense. He was proud fit to burst when I finally went to college three years after graduating from high school. He gave me money rather than have me sign up for student loans to help with my rent when things got tight because I was focusing on school rather than try to work full-time, with the understanding that I have to pay it back only if I fail at trying for my education. He told me that I will be the first in the family to get a four-year degree. I live not far from them - or from Grandma, now - and while I didn't visit as often as I could have, I still tried to visit relatively regularly. One of the last times I went, Grandpa told me that I was the only grandchild who came to see them on anything approaching a regular basis - of the five grandchildren they have in the state, four of us are adults, I am the only adult grandchild who does not drive and had to rely on Grandma for rides when I went to see them, and I still saw them far more than the others did - and that he was glad that one of us, at least, came out to see them. This is probably - no, certainly the most sentimental thing he ever said to me. He never told me in so many words that he loved me, but with his actions, and his praise for returning to school and working hard at it to better myself and my circumstances, he told me all the time.

I loved him very much, and for some time now I have quietly hoped that he would escape from the misery that his life became with a peaceful death. That is exactly what happened. He died in the hospital, made comfortable with plenty of morphine by an attentive staff so that he was completely out of it and unable to feel it as his body stopped processing oxygen and finally gave up. Everyone in the family who could go was there on Saturday when it became clear that he wasn't going to make it, sitting together for hours as we waited for his last breath, sometimes talking and laughing, sometimes crying. I had work yesterday, and while I made certain to visit before I went, go I did - he would have been furious if I gave up money I need to sit and do nothing as he lay there, oblivious to us all. My mother called me about twenty minutes after his death, and I sat out back and cried for a little while, because it was long since time for him to go, but he was my grandfather and I loved him.

I may make another post later, about what it's like to sit in a hospital waiting for a sick man to die, about how I worry about Grandma, alone for the first time since she was younger than I am, about things that are not new and are no doubt familiar to many on my friendslist, but cannot be understood if you haven't experienced them. I may also post, for my own benefit, about Grandpa and my memories, to pin them down before my treacherous ADD-addled brain lets them become too fuzzy. For now, though, I'm done. I didn't want to make this post, because after I finished crying yesterday, I got up and went back to work and eventually made myself smile, and I've been doing that ever since. I'd rather keep smiling, but I can't, and I knew this post would mark the beginning of allowing myself to grieve. I love you, Grandpa, and I'll keep visiting Grandma, and I'm glad you're not suffering anymore, and I'll miss you.


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