Wednesday, June 27, 2012
i started re-watching HBO's Six Feet Under a few weeks ago. i came to the episode where Nate's wife's body is found and he illegally buries her to honor her wishes and it's as powerful as it was the first time around.. an image, an idea that has stuck with me for years.
i remember the summer i went to stay with my estranged grandfather a few years before i graduated art school. we were on a road trip to pick up my mother in norfolk and we passed the time talking about stories i'd never heard about my grandmother, their crazy youth spent together, and finally, of how her death had affected him years later.. there were so many things i wanted to ask him then. like, what was it like to watch the people you loved and grew up with start to die? the questions sat on the tip of my tongue. i never asked and part of me regrets it. i was afraid to disturb the camaraderie we'd developed maybe. we were a different sort, me and gramps.
he died in april. my mother told me the day after.
it didn't seem real then. still doesn't, in fact. i can remember the last time i saw him, freshly twenty-two, sitting in a diner near the beach before he drove me to the airport. i didn't think that would be the last time i made it east, or to see him no less. few years ago, he lost his feet and later, his legs to diabetes. he was in a home by then. mom and i discussed going to visit him.. we just knew. but i could never get the time off from all my jobs, i said. and ma couldn't leave until the end of the schoolyear.
i should have said fuck-all and gotten the time off. i should have scraped together the cash. it's silly, at my age i should have remembered that life does not wait for you. it will not wait for comfort-ability or opportunity.
my grandfather essentially died alone.. just like he had lived the bulk of his life. a man who learned too late how to love and let people in.. maybe he never really learned it at all.