Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just an average day.

spent the entire day hiking. Went out to dinner with my grandfather for his birthday.

Grandpa Joe. Hes the one I watch black and white movies with.
My other grandfather lives in west Virginia. I called him last night and found out that he is dying. His kidneys are failing. This (obviously ) upsets me. He could go on dialysis. But he tells me he'd rather die then go on dialysis for the rest of his life.

He feels that if he allowed himself to be put on dialysis, his condition would rule his life, and hes never been that kind of man.

I'm telling the story the only way I know it. The way I was told it. And people don't speak of the past much, so I had to sew bits and pieces together. 

He ran away from home at 13 to work on a farm and pay his own living. He did this because his father was an alcoholic, and scared him when he yelled at him and his mother. When he was older he managed a coal mine. This was in the 70s. He made millions. He invested- and poorly. The coal business eventually collapsed. (at least the one he was running.) He ended up broke. Most likely turned towards alcohol abuse. He never stated this, but photographs and other family things provide all necessary evidence, but I really don't want to slander my own grandfather. He was sober when I met him, and strong and good. After this he quickly learned a new trade, because by this time he had a wife. He also had a child, the light of his life, to provide for. He went into construction and found good money there. His marriage eventually failed. His wife move to Ohio with their child. He paid child support and continued to work, spending his money as he felt, and usually this wasn't the best way possible. Not the best way for him, at least, but he helped a lot of people. He was a family man, but not only for his own family. He went around the neighborhood and bought school clothes for all the families, fixed house things and helped single mothers in the area, making sure sons had haircuts and daughters had nice clothes and pretty jewelry to wear to school. He wanted to provide for all the children. Even if they were not his own.

He learned about foster parents and liked the idea. Though being a bit old fashioned didn't think he had to run through any specific organization to be  a foster parent, he simply sought out families that needed help and support and took care of their children and their families, buying school supplies, showing up for school concerts and church choir performances, conferences and sports events and the occasional doctor appointment. He made sure to invite specific families- especially the ones with young children, on vacation with him every year, when he would go to  Myrtle beach. He made sure they didn't pay a penny.

When winter came around he bought everyone hot chocolate and coats. he called them his foster children. When I was born he sent gifts through the mail. Dress up clothes and Giant teddy bears and shoes and coats and dress shoes and always candy. He knew I liked harry potter and bought me chocolate covered frogs. Once he got confused and thought willy Wonka was part of harry potter for some reason (?) and sent me willy Wonka chocolate bars. I still loved them. I felt very strange receiving his gifts, having never met him. It took me a while to understand how someone who I had never met could love me so much. He bought me shoes when I needed new shoes and they were my favorite. He bought my mother and my younger brothers gifts too, even though they were not biologically related to him. He was a wonderful man. I think his favorite thing to do was buy things for people.

He was always making money and doing business, but I think everyone knows he wasn't exactly the best business man. In return for services once, my grandfather was promised a house, a beautiful house, for his daughter, he worked very hard and received little pay for all the houses he built in this complex, believing that eventually one of them would belong to his daughter, and he could give her a proper start. Nothing was ever put in writing, my grandfather was a trusting man. And in the end he got screwed over, penny less and no house for his child. it was downhill from there. work got harder- pay was less. He got remarried to a charming woman. But sadness after bad decision after sadness hit them and he ended up in a mobile home supporting three individuals who - due to great loss and deep depression, and tragic deaths left and right, husbands, brothers, and sons dying, found themselves too sad to work. Too sad to live.

It is a nice mobile home, right by the river. He lives amongst friends and neighbors, and my grandmother is very funny, and my young cousin, is very smart. He supports them. I understand they are sad. I know he likes helping them. I know they are sad, having lost fathers sonds husbands and brothers all at once in a streak of bad luck. But now as my grandfather finds himself near death, I wish someone would be there to step up. I wish someone could pull out of the sadness and help him. After all he has done. They are old enough and capable. simply saddened.

I know depression can halt a lot of life's things.
But lets face it
When he dies
There will be no one to support them.

They will either have to get jobs or die.


That's how poor they are, and that's how much they depend on him.

My grandfather had a billion friends. If he died there would be a billion people, all his  "foster children" will be at the funeral. A billion people at his funeral. And no one can help him? I could help him. But I live two states away. I will support him, but he would want them to be supported too. Those I cant, and wont help. I will help him. I would help him. If I could. I don't know what to do. I know what the right thing is. Even if I did move down south and work to support him as a dental assistant, to support him so he could stop working . . . there would still be no one to support,  them. The three sad people he lives with. The three people he supports.My income wouldn't be even enough to help them.

They cant help them. They don't know how any more. They are too sad. Its terrible because his kidneys have been running 44 percent for the past year and he keeps working, well. Until now. He cant work now. I feel like hes working to death. hes supporting them to death. They are killing him. And now no one can help him.

And so he'd rather die then to not be able to help those who need his help.

He'd simply rather die.

And I don't know what to do.


  1. emotion in this post really resonated with me.

  2. Thank you so much. . .

    There was a lot going on in my head and heart at the time.
    Still no answers, but writing helps.

    1. Yes writing definitely does help. It's one of the main reasons I started my blog to be honest. It's very cathartic.