Friday, August 24, 2007

san antonio

last wednesday andrew, my dad, and i took off to san antonio. my grandfather had been sick for a while, but it had suddenly been getting worse since the big anniversary party. my dad had been going to see him on the weekends, but this time he asked the two of us to come along.
we got there on a very stormy day, the city was flooding. we got to the house at about 5:30 am, and went into the bedroom to say hello to my grandfather. he was sleeping so andrew and i were in and out, then crashed in the tv room. we woke up a few hours later and it was still dark and stormy out. the whole house was so dreary, it definitely was not the house i spent my childhood summers in. i'm used to that house having seven granddaughters running around, plus that one grandson. there was always something going on there, someone to talk to or tease, always someone laughing or yelling.
once we dragged ourselves off the couch, we went into the bedroom again. he still wasn't very responsive, but we said hi again anyway. shortly after that, we were sent out of the room.
back to the tv room! we watched some movies, ate some lunch, watched some more movies and didn't see my grandfather again till dinnertime. he was at the dining table, my grandmother was giving him something pale and creamy. he looked so miserable. andrew and i are very similar in that we don't know what to do in uncomfortable situations. some of my cousins were there, carrying on like normal. one of them came in and started chatting away immediately to my grandfather. he was unresponsive, but she went on and on anyway. is that what we're supposed to do? it didn't feel right. soon after dinner he went to bed and andrew and i hung around till it was time to go over to my other grandparents' where we were staying the night.

friday morning my grandmother came into the room andrew and i were staying in and told us my dad had called and said we had to go over to his parents' house immediately, his dad had gotten much worse.
he passed away at about 12:20 pm, in his room, surrounded by family.
my grandmother loved him so much, and i never saw it as much as i did that day. they had such a special relationship and i still can't imagine her without him. their lives weren't always perfect, but they never pretended it was. they were as real as they could be.
my grandmother held onto his hand as long as she could, she really really loved him.

this is where things started getting uncomfortable and frustrating for me. they hadn't even come to take the body, but people were coming to the door. just leave this family alone for a bit, please. i understand people going to the house to give condolences, but just wait a bit. and of course they all bring food. but this is san antonio, so it's 98% mexican food, with 2% barbecue. how much rice and beans does a grieving family need? and in such large quantities! when my mom got into town on saturday she and my dad went to the store to stock up on gladware, i think they should've gotten the foodsaver or some garbage bags.

monday was the rosary and the church was full, people were standing in the back even. what made me sad was seeing all these people go by my grandmother and they would hug her and talk to her and i could picture him right by her. i saw him in church, stopping someone they knew so he could introduce us to them. "hey! these are my granddaughters!" and he always put andrew by himself "this is my grandson." as the only boy out of eight grandkids, he got that special attention. i just saw him, one hand on one of our shoulders, the other reaching out to this person he wanted us to meet. and there was my grandmother, right by his side. they were almost always together. he was such a friendly personable man, it was hard to see him in the past year. his whole presence changed. that booming voice that had no problem putting one of us girls back in line, gone. that dominating body and walk, gone.

tuesday was the funeral and the church was packed. i couldn't believe all the people that had come. so many people knew and respected him. there were people all the way up in the choir lofts, people standing in the back again. it was amazing to me. he really mattered to so many people, and it was good for my grandmother to see them all i think. the funeral procession to the cemetery seemed like it would never end.

his death didn't come as a surprise to anyone, but it was still sad. towards the end he was in terrible pain, always uncomfortable. it's wonderful that he's not anymore, but it's surreal knowing he's gone. my grandmother is an incredibly strong woman and she seems to have a plan for her future. i just hope my crazy aunt doesn't ruin everything, but that's a whole other story.

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