amw (amw) wrote,

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getting older

My other grandfather, my opa, is still fighting. Over three years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He kept it a secret for two. Since he "came out" he's spent a lot of time reaching out to his family, especially us grandchildren. Now he is on the best home care money can buy, hooked up to whatever machine is keeping him alive. Some days he says he's ready to go, some days he appears somewhat lucid, other days he's not there at all. I can't begin to imagine how hard it must be to be with him right now. His wife who lives with him, his daughter who lives across town... I'm only getting this third-hand, via my mom in Australia. The on again, off again must be torture.

I have two memories of him in particular - one good and one embarrassing. I always remember the embarrassing stuff. The good was going over to his apartment one day and him teaching my sister and i how to play billiards. Later that afternoon we watched Roman Holiday - probably my sole exposure to classic Hollywood outside of the holiday favorites like Wizard of Oz and It's A Wonderful Life. The embarrassing memory also features movies - a hotel porno i watched on his tab on our last day in Holland. Somehow my dumb 17 year old ass thought i'd get away with it, and somehow i was right as he quietly paid the bill.

My grandpa who just passed away i didn't know so well. I never made enough of an effort. I vaguely remember visiting him in Hong Kong when i was about 7, but i think i was so wowed by the rest of the culture over there that memories of him didn't sink in. Or perhaps he was just so busy and involved with community activities he wasn't around much. By the sounds of it that is kinda how he lived his life, always getting involved and being in the middle of things, experiencing everything to the fullest.

I hope opa is still enjoying his life, to the end. He was a lot more private, quietly enjoying his retirement in an apartment surrounded by fine art, BMW in the basement and annual trips to the Mediterranean. I wonder where my mom and dad will be when they retire? Mom says she'd like small town Australia, though i'm not sure if she'd miss the culture of the city. I imagine dad will stay where he is, with his step family and grandkids in New Zealand. I wonder where i will be? And i wonder if i'll have any kids around to visit me. I wonder if i'll have a grandkid i hardly know crying on the other side of the world when i'm gone.
Tags: family

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