Smiles from Grandpa

I’ve been here a while now. We see Grandpa every day. Right now he is being treated for an infection but he finally got palliative care so that’s good. When I first got here and saw him he was more understandable and said he was glad. Not glad to see me (though I assume that’s what the full sentence was gonna be), just glad. He was starting sentences and then not quite finishing them.

It’s been over a week I have been here. He talks in Cree now, and I only know a few words. But this afternoon when I was visiting him he was looking at me and smiling and it made me cry and I was trying NOT to cry because I don’t want to make him feel like he has to stay just to keep our spirits up.

There is family here from out of town. People are all coping in their own ways I guess.

I will try to stick to my own feelings about the whole thing though.

I have a really low tolerance for self absorbed bullshit right now. I normally can indulge friends in trivial conversations on Facebook, but right now my patience for it is REALLY thin. I’m generally not engaging very much in those kinds of interactions. People ask how Grandpa is and I’m just like, dying. Because he is and there is not much more to say about it than that. Dying is messy and makes people uncomfortable and some people really just can’t handle being around it. Sometimes being with him is brutal and hard and really painful even for me and I’m not even the one doing the dying. And he’s in the hospital right now which is harder for me than when Grandma died at home. I think because we could all focus on her at her care home in her private suite and be with her, but he’s got all that hospital stuff going on and is in a room with at least three other people.

And the thing about dying, at least with both my grandparents, is that there’s not a lot of quality conversations that happen in the last days. It’s just not possible. So I feel protective of him and don’t really want people gawking at him. If someone is dying I think you need to have been pretty close to them to be able to witness their last days. I mean, that might just be me.

Anyway, sometimes friends send me innocuous texts or messages that seem to be missing the mark and I get really irritated. Not always. Some friends have been making me feel better. I like the snapchats I have been getting.

Sometimes I want to go away and visit someone and get away from all this dying stuff, but then I feel like no one will want to just hang out and shoot the shit at the last minute, and I have no ability to make plans in advance right now. And people seem to like advance notice that we will be visiting, when really I’m like “Wanna hang out RIGHT NOW because no one has died yet and I don’t know if it’s gonna happen tomorrow and I will be at the reserve the next day?” So that’s frustrating.

I’m low energy. My dogs have been making me get up at 10am because they hear people upstairs, and they will NOT let me sleep in when they could play with the other two dogs here. Mom and I had a fight this morning about something totally ridiculous and of no importance and neither of us said sorry because I think we were both ticked off. She guilts me when I go out with Deanna because she doesn’t like me leaving the house without my dogs and that irritates me too because I need some time out and because my dogs are fine on their own for two hours they don’t trash the place or try to set the house on fire. Actually a lot of people are kind of bickering with each other, which makes sense because there is a lot of bipolar in our family so mood disorders + major emotional life event = mess.

I miss my apartment back home. I miss my morning routine and walking the dogs and visiting my friends and seeing cuties. Logically I could do this here too, but no, it’s different. I’m in my Mom’s house, not my house, so I don’t have the same freedom even tho I am an adult. And I kinda got used to my routine.

And I guess I am pre-grieving, which is a weird thing. Like it’s gonna happen we all know it’s gonna happen but it hasn’t happened YET and I was holding out for so long trying not to be all teary. But now I have cried in front of him twice.

Also I am mourning the fact that Grandpa, who was so important in my life, is not ever gonna meet my future wife or my future kids. That this whole major part of my life is going to be disconnected from this other major part of my life that HASN’T EVEN HAPPENED YET!

And also all those stories he had, about our ancestors, and stories that were handed down to him from long ago before even our great great grandfather was born, will be gone. He told us a lot of things, and for the most part we remember them. But I’m sure there are other things he will take with him. And that makes me sad too.

Grandpa was really good at making our family’s history sound so exciting, being involved in the Northwest Rebellion, and running away to join American Wild West shows, and all kinds of interesting things that my ancestors did. And I guess I just hope that I can inspire that kind of admiration in the next generation. And he was a minister, and I really don’t want people to act like because he was a minister he wasn’t a good enough Native or he was colonized. I think some Native people are really self hating when they put down Christian Natives. Let people believe what they want to believe, what is it to you if someone brown prays to Jesus? Jesus wasn’t white either.

So that’s the scoop. There is more, but I am leaving out health details. Besides the obvious.

I think I need to figure out some self care stuff. Also I got a rash from this soap Mom has, and it’s super painful when I itch it and super itchy when I ignore it. Bummed out!

I’m staying up late after people go to bed to be with my thoughts. That seems to help. Like right now. Like writing this.

3 thoughts on “Smiles from Grandpa

  1. Hugs Thirza. Thank-you for sharing this. Being a pallbearer at my Grandpa’s funeral was the impetus for my coming out: knowing he would never have really known me made me blow the closet doors off.

  2. Thank you for sharing. It’s tough. In a way I am glad all my immediate family is gone and I have my memories but it is lonely. I appreciate your honesty so much as it helps us to carry on.

  3. Watching someone die is hard and it takes a toll on the family that has to witness it. Crying is good never hold your tears in because one day they will have to come out. You can come visit me or I could come get you and take you and the dogs to the off leash park. Love you very much!

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