05.29.2013 - 8:47 pm.
Andrew's grandma passed away last wednesday night. She'd been in the hospital a week ago because she'd been vomiting blood, something she's prone to due to her medication. She was released the next day and was at home recovering. It'd happened before and she had bounced back.
She was 91 and this time, there was a blood clot in her lung. She seemed to be in recovery when on wednesday night Andrew got a call. He rushed to his grandparents' home to look after his grandfather while Andrew's mom was at the hospital with the grandmother.
Then I got a call. Andrew was asking me to take his place while he went to the hospital, because his grandmother was being resuscitated. I took a cab and when I got to the house Andrew opened the door with bloodshot eyes, mouthing that she had passed away. He went to the hospital anyway while I stayed, sitting in the living room couch.
I don't remember it being a long time. I closed my eyes and then he opened the door again, carrying a bag with her grandmother's belongings. His mom was behind him. The grandfather is 94, he was in bed. Andrew walking into the bedroom and knelt before the bed, telling him that his wife of over 60 years had just passed away. He started to cry silently, saying he was supposed to go first. I came in with Andrew's mom and well, we just gathered to cry. I couldn't believe she was gone. A day ago we had been in that house, having lunch with her.
We came home at 3 am to try to get some rest before facing what was ahead. I barely saw Andrew the next day. It happened that I had a very busy day at the university, and I spent my day there while he spent his running errands, setting up the wake and the funeral and meeting with family. I met with him by late afternoon at the wake. He was crushed like everyone in his family, but everyone kept themselves together. He was particularly exhausted, having been the one who took care of everything. His grandparents had thought ahead though, they had already a funeral plan. But we'd come home at 3 because he was making phone calls to the funeral home to start the arrangements right away.
His brother and sister and nephew, living hundreds of miles away, stayed with us the night of the wake. It was kind of neat, really, his sister reminds me of my own, being so kick-ass and self-sufficient and having raised a kid all by herself. Except my sister (like all of my family) is anti-military and Andrew's sister works there. Anyway, she made us pancakes, delicious banana-flavored pancakes. And we went to bed early.
The next morning there was a mass at 11 and the funeral was at 12. The funeral was really quick, at least comparing to the others I'd been to (which aren't that many, really). Still it was heartbreaking to hear the grandfather speak. And then Andrew's mom. The grandmother was not her biological mother, so they're not Andrew's biological grandparents, but it makes no difference. Poor Andrew was overwhelmed, having to arrange everything and then trying to digest the goodbye. I felt he didn't quite got the chance to mourn properly.
His whole family came to our apartment for lunch afterwards. I'd never seen them all together: his mom, dad, brother, sister and nephew. We had a small apartment so it was very crowded, but lunch was nice. They'd all been supporting each other, not to mention Andrew's friends (to whom I had to break the news) who were all there for him, coming to the wake or the funeral, or giving him a call or dropping a few lines, the ones who live far away.
The rest of that day was to hang out with his family and check on the grandfather. A lot of his own family had come from all over the country and abroad, so his own house was crowded, too. Andrew and I were uncomfortable with this, and Andrew was pissed when he learned that the extended family downed nearly an entire bottle of pisco sour, the last bottle the grandmother had made herself (she had a wonderful hand for cooking and preparing liquor).
It wasn't until sunday that Andrew's family was the only one left. Aside from one of grandfather's nieces (they had no biological children), who was to stay for a few days looking after him.
The most heartbreaking part of all is the grandfather. He keeps a good spirit but here and there he mumbles to God that he was supposed to go first and then prays. This niece treats him ok but she isn't very pleasant. Andrew's mom and another niece will also come, the three of them will alternate to stay for a few days every week. The grandfather is 94, very lucid and with no significant sickness (diabetes, but he's very responsible) but can't take care of himself anymore. The grandmother did that.
Andrew and I discussed moving in closer. It's only a possibility, and the only major inconvenience is that we'll live far away from the university, our workplace. Right now we live across the street. But I see the grandfather and I wouldn't mind moving to see him more often. He and his wife welcomed me with arms wide open, like I imagine they took in a lot of nephews and nieces and grandchildren I saw at the funeral. Andrew lived with them in his teenage years. Theirs was another home for me.
For now, we'll just try to visit him for more than once a week, keep him company for supper and the like. Some people offered the grandfather to go live with them, but this has been his home for more than two decades, it's what he knows. I doubt he'd like to go anywhere else. We'll see how it goes with the three caretakers and if we're needed around more.
It was lovely how appreciative Andrew was of me being there with him during his grandma ordeal and for tending to his family. I did what I could. He's really tired to this day, but because he's also organizing a TED event. It's tomorrow, I hope we can take a break after that.
As for me, today in particular was a great, productive day. I'm making progress on all three of my research projects and I'm getting paid by two of them. I'm a litte anxious because my residence has not been issued and without it I can't provide an invoice. So they are giving me the money but I'm not giving anything back to prove it. They know I'm in the middle of paperwork and I'll catch up with the invoices later. I'm thankful for finally seeing a salary but it's a little annoying being in this position. Still better than not seeing a salary though.
Oh, I dreamed of Joseph again. I bring it up because this time it was him as a character, he was a salesman at a gipsy tent (?). I think he wasn't Joseph-Joseph in my dream, I mean, we had a salesman-customer interaction. That's a nice thing of my mind to do, to give him roles other than the one I know him for, to spare me the threat of dealing with old wounds.
May is the month I started dating Joseph and fell in love with him, and the month, five years later, in which I finally worked up the courage to sever my ties to him (but it took years to consider that a finished job). It was pain and freedom.