Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I'm packing my suitcase.

My grandfather died yesterday. The first of my grandparents to go.

Black pants, black blouse, black shoes, conservative jewelry.

I'm not sad my grandfather is gone. He had been ill and in pain, so his death is something of a relief.

Another pair of black pants, a black sweater set, more conservative jewelry.

My grandfather was an imperfect man, as we humans are all imperfect.

I do not wear dresses or skirts, not even for funerals.

He was my grandmother's second husband, a chance for her to be happy after her disastrous first marriage. Unfortunately, my grandfather was unfaithful, as had been my grandmother's first husband. For reasons unfathomable to me, my grandmother did not divorce my grandfather for his infidelity, and they were married almost 40 years.

I put a nice black purse in the suitcase.

My grandfather alienated his children from his first marriage. He had almost no contact with them or their families. I do not know if they will attend the funeral.

I add pajamas, underwear, and casual clothes to the suitcase.

For the past few years, my grandfather had a variety of health problems. In addition, his behavior changed and he became cantankerous and difficult, more so than usual. We suspected early dementia.

It might rain tomorrow. I pack an umbrella.

My grandfather did love my grandmother, even when his actions did not show it. When my grandmother went into the nursing home last year, my grandfather visited her every single day until he got sick in August and was hospitalized.

I make lists for Pete, who will remain home with the girls.

The last time I visited my grandmother in the nursing home, I did not stop by my grandfather's room to visit him too. He had become very difficult and was hallucinating and had to be restrained. I did not want my children to see him like that.

I pack my work laptop and papers to deal with while I'm gone. I'll have time to work tonight and again in the morning. Life goes on, even when it does not.

Tomorrow I will go to my grandfather's funeral. I will forget about the bad and focus on the good. I will honor the memory of the man my grandmother fell in love with. I will remember the perfect grandfather that a pigtailed little girl used to worship.

I'm ready to go.


countrymouse said...

This was beautifully honest.

Cecily R said...

Is it weird that I think this is a very moving tribute to your Grandpa? It's beautifully written and honest.

I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you'll miss him.

Suzanne said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. This is a haunting post.

blackbird said...

Great post.
I was thinking with you all along...

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I suppose we never know the complexity of relationships that suffer all sorts of rights and wrongs. When you love someone a great deal, the level of forgiveness is huge and never ending. Remember him for his goodness - the rest might be about what people do, not who they really are. I hope it goes well and you find some sort of peace along the way.

Suzanne said...

Safe travels.

I'm sorry for the loss of your grandfather. I understand and can relate.

I'll check in when I can. Know I'm thinking of you.

The Guider said...


However ambiguous you feel about the man, I am sorry for your loss and the loss of a member of the generation above your parents.

Happy Working Mom said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you are able to remember the good times and memories as you sit through the funeral. And afterwards don't feel guilty if you're not as sad and upset as you think you "should" be...we have our feelings (or lack thereof) for a reason.

Flutterby said...

Awwww hon I am so sorry I did not see this sooner. I haven't peeked in much over the past few days. I lost my grandfather very shortly after hub and I got engaged. And my grandmother 7 years later. They were both very much loved and had a huge hand in raising me. The thing that pissed me off at both funerals was cousins being there who had no interest in them while they were alive; and I almost had to be dragged away from an older cousin who thought it was a good idea to comment to me "I guess we all wanted a day off work huh?" (So... watch out for the cousins... or.. don't be one of those kind yourself.)

Josie said...

I am so sorry Jen.
Thinking of you and sending hugs.

The Hotfessional said...

Jen -
Sorry I missed this before you left.

Like Countrymouse said - a beautifully honest post, and a brave one. So many of us feel the same about our familial relationships, I'm sure. I know I do. You have the heart to say what we're thinking.

Lacey Bean said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and that was beautifully written. It's nice that you can go to the funeral and honor him in death, even though it was hard to live by him in life. Have a safe trip.

QueenMother said...

Much love to you. I am sorry for your loss.

nejyerf said...

clearly i need to check this blog more frequently (i'm always looking at the jen reads one)

everything about this post was beautiful, including the restrained packing style.