Posts Tagged ‘grandfather’

It’s Times Likes Right Now

May 28th, 2017

Memorial Day Eve, 2017.

 

My grandfather was a veteran of the Korean Conflict. Thankfully he did not see time on the battlefield or else I would not be writing this. So the proper day to honor my grandfather will be Veterans’ Day in November.

 

Or after snapping at a family member, because it is times like this that I miss him.

 

Oh Grandpa,

 

It’s been nearly three years since you passed. The further I get away from your passing the more I understand why I miss you. We got along pretty well for the most part, you and me. We understood each other.

 

We had a few flareups but it was never as frequent as it is with the rest of them. Is it me? Of course it is. Why is it that I got along way better with you than I do with them? Why did we have an understanding that I don’t have anywhere else?

 

I am bewildered now. You were my support system. I’m trying to put another one together but it’s difficult.

 

I love you and I miss you. I understand now. I’m sorry. I don’t know how you did it for so long.

 

Mike

Whatever Happens To You

August 20th, 2016

Whatever happens to the deceased?

I’ve had time to think about the dearly departed and this is what I have learned.

The deceased return to the universe.

They become a part of our environment.

Drops of morning dew,

flakes of volcanic ash,

atoms shifting throughout this blue ball of rain called Earth.

Matter changing throughout time,

always surrounding us,

never being far away.

In our lungs and in our nostrils

as well as our memories and dreams.

I can conjure up the loved ones I’ve lost.

Every time I sweat from hard work.

Each time I cry a tear of joy.

When I play a song, I wiggle the air molecules around me.

I can always touch the people I lost.

It’s Difficult

September 11th, 2015

I am moving in with my mom soon. I think I’ll be moving in with her and my stepfather next month. We want to get me moved in before the holidays start.

 

I have lived in Fordsville most of my life. I moved here when I was in kindergarden, then moved away for a year. I came back when I was in second grade and lived here all the way until I was nineteen when I moved into a WKU dorm. I lived in Bowling Green for three years. I lived in Los Angeles for about twenty months.

 

I will be leaving Fordsville, but more importantly I will be leaving this trailer which I have been in since 2003. When I got back from L.A., I moved in with my grandfather and my cousin. My cousin George got married and started a family. My grandfather passed away last year.

 

September used to be my favorite month. I always loved the weather cooling down and the leaves changing color on the trees. I loved the brisk feeling at night and I loved how pretty the days were without being indescribably hot.

 

I used to love September.

 

The last five weeks of my grandfather’s life was spent in a hospital. He was in pain and got surgery for a hernia that had been bothering him for some time. His body, which was already in decline, went through its’ final stages.

 

My mom’s birthday last year, we both sat with him in his room. He and I sang “Happy Birthday” to her. He sounded tired.

 

The hospital supplied us with beverages and snacks as we sat and watched our patriarch on his death bed. If you go to the hospital to visit someone and walk by a table that has snacks, cokes and coffee in a pot, don’t swipe a soft drink or anything like that because that stuff is reserved for families who are watching a family member in their final moments.

 

September is so beautiful during the day. I looked out the hospital room and saw the grass outside and it was so green and vibrant. The sky was the right kind of blue and the sun looked warm and comforting.

 

The week before he died, I went with Mary and Jon to a WWE show in Nashville. I still talked as if I thought he could pull through one more time. It was a good show. We sat in the third row. I yelled at the wrestlers but I didn’t swear because there were kids around. I swore during the main event because it ended in a disqualification due to outside interference.

 

Jon passed away June 1st. I think about him every day. My grandfather has been gone nearly a year now and I still think of him every day. I sit in the trailer I shared with him and I want to leave. I want a new start and I’m taking it.

 

The old me would be embarrassed at having to move back in with my mom. I feel like a dog that’s been kicked around in the street and I don’t even care. I’m lonely. Living with people will be an improvement. I’ll have my own side of the house. My own shower. My own kitchenette. Mom will want to me to be her “Dancing With The Stars” TV buddy but I can probably manage that. “The Bachelor/ette” is where I draw the line.

 

Nobody comes to see me. This is still his house to everybody, only he’s not here. I can’t afford to see everybody and everybody has their own lives and schedules and it’s harder to make time. Nobody wants to see the empty spaces. I understand but I’m still here.

 

I can’t wait for October. I can’t wait to leave.

 

A Nice Story

February 27th, 2015

Today I went to the eye doctor.

 

Wait, this story gets better. I promise.

 

The eye doctor’s assistant (nurse?) was a girl I went to school with and was a neighbor of mine. Her family lived down the hill from mine. Today was the first time I have seen her in a long time and she told me a story that I had long forgotten.

 

Once upon a time, her little brother was burning leaves close to the hill. A strong gust of wind blew some of the fire onto the hill bank, making the fire difficult to control for the youngster. It threatened to burn the hill up very fast and the youngster was struggling to put it out.

 

Who should come down to save the day and help put out the fire but my grandfather? From up on the hill, he saw smoke emanating down below and decided to check it out where he saw the kid struggling to contain the fire. Together they put the fire out and saved the hill from burning up. If that fire had reached up to the top it could have been a problem for the trailers that were up there.

 

My grandfather was a sweet man. He was kind and he moved fast to do the right thing. It was instinct and he instilled that in his children and grandkids. Doing the right thing.

 

That instinct kicked in again last week. I would tell you about what I did but that would be tooting my own horn. No need to brag about those sort of things. It doesn’t make me unique. Doing the right thing is not something I did for recognition. It was right and that justifies itself. I’m being vague on purpose. It’s alright.

 

I miss my grandpa. I teared up after the nurse left the room. The tears burned my eyes.

Veterans’ Day

November 11th, 2014

(I would rather scoop out my eyes with a melonballer than attempt a follow up to the blog I posted previous to this one. )

 

My grandfather Alva Farmer Jr. was an Army veteran serving during the Korean Conflict. At his funeral, seven military men presented our family with an American flag and performed a 21-gun salute. I still have one of the empty discharges from the funeral. My grandfather was given the ultimate respect in death and for that I am thankful for the solemn duty that our military perform, active and retired. They take the funeral procession seriously. I felt an immense sense of pride as I sat there in front of my grandfather’s final resting place.

 

That was six weeks ago.

 

I have not been back to the gravesite since that day. I have struggled with my emotions a lot since then. I will go Tuesday to see his resting place. There will be some grass over the plot, hopefully. It has been a rainy fall. My grandfather died on a beautiful warm September day. It wasn’t fair to look at him and see him in his final days and then look out the window of his hospital room and see how beautiful and sunny the world looked. He turned himself away from the window.

 

It’s a selfish thought but I keep having it: I need him to be here more than he needs to be gone. Which is wrong, 100 percent. Everybody has their time and Alva Farmer Jr’s time was September 27th or 28th, on or around midnight. He had been in the hospital for thirty-six straight days, battling a variety of ailments. He went in for a successful operation, was released after a week only to return that same night never to leave again. In that time, he battled intestinal infection, a failing liver and kidneys.

 

One thing I learned was that when I first went to see him in the hospital, I would sort-of peek into the other rooms as I walked to his room. Then I would see him in his condition and I never did that again. The gravity of the situation was so much that I smartened up. Even though the doors were wide open, looking felt intrusive.

 

How many times I had to put on scrubs and gloves before entering his room. How many times I had to fight to not visibly bawl in front of him. How many times I expected to get “the call”. How easy it was to take “the call” when I got it. Mom called me in the middle of the night, waking me out of a good sleep. My mom and aunt kept a bedside vigil for the last few weeks. My grandfather’s two daughters. No sons. I am the oldest male Farmer. I am thirty-six.

 

I have to talk about the last days. But I also have to talk about as many days as I can before that I remember. He got my car ready for California in 2001 by having the catalytic converters taken out, which meant they would not pass an California emissions test. (this is where the smiley face emoticon goes). He took me and my cousin George four-wheeling so many times when we were little kids. George liked muddin’, me not so much. We would have to check ourselves for turkey lice, chiggers and ticks. I had a few, George always had more.

 

2013 Fordsville Days. We watched the country band play on the bandstand across the field from our house. In the past we hated that bandstand, but it was nice this time. It reminded me of old times, when he would take me to Rosine when he wanted to watch bluegrass bands. He had his oxygen tank. There’s still a warning sticker on the front door warning “NO SMOKING, OXYGEN!” but all the oxygen equipment is gone. His bed and comfy chair have been moved out. My house is emptier.

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I find it easy to cry these days. My grandfather rarely did. One time was when my mom got married in May. That was a special occasion, naturally. Everybody cried except me. I thought they cried because they were happy, and sure they were. But I’ve been to a wedding since then and now realize tears come for a lot of reasons. Here is my grandfather the day of my mom’s wedding. I have better pictures of him but I’ll be damned if I’m sharing them with you. He wasn’t expecting the camera when this picture was taken. Looking back, that day might have been his last good day on Earth. From then on, he fought the good fight and scraped every bit of happiness out of life he could but the fight took a lot out of him.

 

I truly believe he never wasted a day of his life.

The Man Is Back

April 12th, 2013

My grandfather is home tonight and he’s strapped with an oxygen tank.

 

Look at this son-of-a-gun breathing and whatnot. Slam bang. Hotcha! Look at this old man taking TWO water pills a day instead of one. What a guy! Look at this guy not enjoying his compromised independence. Whoo, kid.

 

My grandfather is technology behind the curve. I’m sure the idea of a fax machine is strange to him, forget about computers and the Internet and blogging. What would he think if he knew I was blogging and Tweeting about him and his life and struggles? What would he think if he knew that people read this stuff?

 

This is the end of what happens to all you moms who post stuff about your babies as they get older and bigger. Be forewarned.

 

We’ve got one of those 24/7 air pumps with a connecting tube that allows him to get around the house. My aunt had the same thing after she had a cancerous lump taken off her lung. We’ve also got a portable tank on wheels so he can get around. The portable tanks have about four hours of air apiece. Knowing my grandfather, he’ll talk so much that he’ll turn four hours of air into ninety minutes.

 

Taking care of my grandfather has been a character-building experience, or at least that’s what I’ve been writing down on my college entrance forms.