eustaciavye77: (lord and master)
[personal profile] eustaciavye77
Some of you already know that my grandpa is in the hospital. I went to NY to stay with my parents this weekend and see a concert in NYC and when I arrived I found out that grandpa had been admitted to a hospital earlier that day with MRSA which may have infected the bone. Not the welcome I was expecting. I still went to the concert which was awesome (I'll write more about it later) but the weekend became a flurry of calls to and from Florida. First he was going to get out on Saturday night with a pic line installed to get IV antibiotics at home. Then they couldn't make that work so they were going to do a line directly to his chest and let him out tonight. Well today we learned that being on blood thinners causes problems with invasive procedures so they are taking him off blood thinners and trying again tomorrow. Meanwhile they have also found what may be cancer on his arm. I still have high hopes that he will recover and be back and home where he will eventually die peacefully in his sleep as a man like him deserves but this _could_ go the wrong way. Tonight I want to get down some thoughts about my grandfather and tell you all about him when he's still alive. This will also serve as notes for when the time comes to give a eulogy because I'm sure when that time comes, I won't be able to think straight to write anything.

My grandfather Cyril (my dad's dad) is 97. He lives in Florida and until March 2010 he lived with his wife of 75 years, my grandmother. She and I never got along but she made him happy which redeems her a bit. When she died, I didn't expect him to live more than a month or two but he's a stubborn man. He's also the only grandfather I ever knew, my mom's dad died when she was a kid. Fortunately, he was the best possible grandpa ever so I never felt deprived. People talk about finding their true calling in life and I am quite certain that my grandfather's true calling was "being a grandpa."

When I was 6, grandpa taught me to play blackjack. When I was 8, he taught me to play poker. Just to make sure I wouldn't get discouraged, he dealt me pairs of aces off the bottom of the deck ever 2-3 hands. I figured that out when I was playing against people other than him and mysteriously did poorly. Good thing there was no money riding on it. Grandpa also taught me to play a bunch of other card games that young children shouldn't learn when I was a young child.

Grandpa tried very hard to teach me to paint. Painting was the hobby grandpa took up after he retired from teaching and he was very good. His old apartment in Florida was decorated with his award winning paintings (I don't know if they are at the new apartment or if my dad has them). Anyway my father apparently also had a great visual sense as a kid so grandpa I'm sure expected me to inherit the talent as well. Sadly I did not. I am not a talented artist. Sorry Grandpa, but thank you for teaching me how to use paints anyway! When I was about 8 or 9 we took a walk down a street near my home, picked wildflowers, took them home, made playdough vases for them and then attempted to paint a still life of our creation. His was good. Mine was... not. Still, I had fun.

Grandpa is a highly intelligent and educated man. He taught high school chemistry for something like 35 years. He and my father received their masters degrees together on the same day at the same school, making the local papers. Even now, Grandpa's home care aide (a wonderful woman named Ann who is "spirited" enough to contend with my grandfather) will sit and chat with him and learn things. It takes him longer to pull information out of his brain now, but it's still always correct. As a child I remember my grandfather constantly reading and me pulling up next to him with a picture book trying to look educated even though I couldn't actually read any words yet. He taught me that sitting with a book for an hour is something that people can do for fun. My parents can blame him for the cost of all my books.

Grandpa is STILL a card shark. Until he was about 95 he drove himself to a local casino several times a week where he would, more often than not, turn a profit playing poker. He can't get around as well now but a few weeks back Ann took him bak to the casino. He came home with about $100 more than he brought. He refuses to play cards with the guys at his assisted living facility because "these people don't know what they're doing."

Grandpa insisted for many many years that he could hear just fine. He couldn't. We all shouted a lot. FInally about 10 years ago he started using his hearing aid. We are all grateful.

When I was 16, I needed to learn to drive. My mother is well meaning but nervous. My father has no patience. The driving instructors at the drivers ed school were marginal at best. During the fall of my Junior year of high school, my parents went on their 25th anniversary cruise and Grandpa visited to "look after" me. Part of looking after me was taking me to drive. Having taught my father to drive 30 years earlier, my grandpa was much more relaxed about the inevitable curb bumps. I learned more about driving during that week than in the entire previous month. When I got my license, grandpa sent me a pair of insulated leather gloves so I could "drive with confidence" in the cold winter months.

My Grandpa cannot match clothes. He just can't. Plaids with stripes and terrible color combinations. Its part of his charm.

Thank you, Grandpa, for completely ignoring my bed time when my parents went away and left me with you. Thank you also for ignoring my curfew when I was in high school and my parents had you stay with me. And also for ignoring the rules about who I could go out with and to where. Thank you for buying me a show doll from every country you and grandma visited and a t-shirt from every island. Thank you for getting between me and my brother when he was getting aggressive and for being the only person in my family to recognize that living with him was hurting me. Thank you for allowing me to take part in intellectual adult discussions when I was 6. Thank you for taking my 9 pm chemistry homework phone calls in 8th grade when my stupid teacher didn't bother explaining what arrows in the equations. Thank you for not expecting me to become a doctor.

So that's my Grandpa, the best one a kid could have.
(picture taken about 2 months ago, he's on the right, his clothes finally matching because my mother now buys them all)
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