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Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Wouldn't Read This Post If I Were You

Alternate Title: Existential Crisis.

When I first started writing this blog, I didn't think anyone would read it, so I just wrote whatever I felt like. And then people started reading it, and I still sort of wrote whatever I felt like. It's the writing part that has been somewhat therapeutic for me, even if it's only about dancing or a movie or whatever interests me at the moment. I've always wanted to write but either felt I didn't have anything to write about or lacked the discipline. There's something about the blog format that somehow makes it easy for me to put my thoughts together in a way that is pleasing to me. The act of putting words together, moving my fingers on the keyboard and watching the typed words appear before me on the screen is satisfying in a very real way.

So I am writing this post with that in mind. That it will be somewhat therapeutic for me and will help me sort out my thoughts. So you don't have to read it. I just have to write it.

My grandpa is in the hospital. I went to see him today and he looked so completely fragile and terrible that it almost made me gasp. Apparently last night he fainted and fell over in the bathtub, and my grandma called my mom and dad and they rushed over and then called the paramedics. They took him to emergency and this morning admitted him into the hospital for a few days.

The doctor thinks he has pneumonia and right now he's hooked up to an IV and they're giving him antibiotics and a diuretic to help with the fluid that has accumulated in his body which is making it hard for him to breathe. I was in the room when the doctor came in and spoke to him, and it didn't really sound like this was going to be too much of a big deal and that my grandpa could go home in a few days.

My grandpa is 91 years old and for most of his life, I think he has been a pretty healthy person. He's a cool guy, not a real grandfatherly type, in my mind. He is to me someone you can have a fascinating conversation with about 20th century history, politics, old movies, current events. He used to work in the printing industry, and since that was what I got my college degree in, we used to talk about typesetting and printing presses. My grandpa is not one of those cuddly types; he's pretty reserved and very deliberate and thoughtful in his manner of speaking. He was an MP in the Army during WWII and landed at Normandy. I think it was Omaha Beach. I know for a fact he saw a lot of things that affected him for the rest of his life even though he refused to really talk about it. Although I don't really know what he did in France, he is a hero to me.

God. I can't stop crying right now. I am a mess. Normally when I am feeling out of sorts, I desperately want to go dancing because it's so perfect at taking me out of myself, my problems, my worries. Being close to another human being, breathing and just feeling the music. But I can't even think about that right now. I think if someone tried to dance with me, I would dissolve into a puddle of tears. I am doing that right now.

I'm trying to figure it all out. Part of my problem is that I don't believe in heaven/afterlife. Or reincarnation. I wish I did. It would make me feel so much better for my grandpa. And for me. I mean, he's lived a long life and if I could think that he would go on living it somewhere else, I'd feel better about him being sick in the hospital. I brought my deck of cards and did two little silly card tricks for him and my grandma and my dad. Something to entertain but it seemed so pathetic. He was too tired. When I left, I told him I loved him and he said, "Why would you love an old man like me?" It was so small and sad the way he said it. I made myself not cry until I got outside to the car.

I've spent years now making a concerted effort to do the things I really want to do and surround myself with interesting friends. I stopped my fantasy of having a "career" years ago when all it seemed like was that I was working myself to death to make someone else a lot of money. So now I have a job that is well below my abilities but it doesn't give me any stress. I make a decent living and can afford to buy myself the things I want, engage in activities that interest me, and travel once or twice a year. I don't want to have any regrets or think that when I'm very old, I denied myself the experiences that I wanted to have. I think about that a lot. But right now all of those things just seem like postponing the inevitable. Who am I kidding?

So that doesn't keep me from being frightened about what comes next. I've only seen one dead person in my life. It was my boyfriend Dave's mother. She had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. When I met her, we basically were there to say goodbye to her, even though none of us said as much. She was obviously an extremely bright woman and faced her condition with what I can only say was a very enlightened outlook and a real sense of humor. She struck me as being an incredibly brave person even though by that time she had already lost most of her ability to speak and move. I remember thinking that I could never be as brave as she was. The next time I saw her was in the funeral home.

I know me very well. I know that in a few days I will feel okay again and I will move on. I always do. But right now I just had to write this all down so I don't wander around the house in circles. It feels like the only thing I can do.


Red Shoes January 27, 2008 at 12:40 AM  

My sweet...I'm so sorry this is hurting you right now. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man, and you're such an angel. I wish you both love and peace.

AlexTangoFuego January 27, 2008 at 1:24 AM  

Thanks for sharing Baby...sounds like he (and you) will be okay...my thoughts are with you both...have a great Sunday!

koolricky January 27, 2008 at 4:20 AM  

Dear tangobaby! I wish I was there to give you a big hug!
Your grandpa is going to be fine. He has seen a lot pf things past him and he won't just go without a fight. And he is under expert hands...
So while he is not so well, do whatever you can to make yourself well, I know it's difficult but it won't make him any better see you badly!
I am sure tomorrow you'll come here to tell me that he is packing up to come back home!

Debbi January 27, 2008 at 8:14 AM  

Isn't it strange that the ability to feel such pain over someone means that you feel such love for someone...
I hope that your world rights its axis soon and spins happily again.

Anonymous January 27, 2008 at 8:51 AM  

Write this post not only help you, but help me to put in perspective some things happen in my life right now.
So thank you for open your heart.
Besos y un abrazo bien fuerte...

Tina January 27, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

I'm glad you wrote this, it sounds like your spirit needed it. Your grandfather sounds wonderful. Whatever happens, keep writing, and know that the people in your life (in person or in blog) are here for you.

msHedgehog January 27, 2008 at 1:47 PM  

Here is a big electric hug:

I don't think anything would really help much.

eurekargos January 27, 2008 at 2:29 PM  

I know of no antidote to sadness, and for sure making up stories at this very moment would not mean much and is below your standards. But if he asks you again what is to love in this old man, you may wish to talk to him about the lighthouses that are used to navigate the ships, and maybe for you, he, his life and the dynamics of your relationship is a powerful invariant lighthouse, and that you are absolutely panicked to think that you may have to go even in a small trip without the security of knowing that he is there for you.

Surely though you know that, painfully as it is, a lighthouse like this that has served you well for all these years, cannot and shall not desert you, and in it, you probably can be assured that you probably have found the immortality (with respect to as much as this relationship serves you) that you so much wished for, and for all these, "There are so many reasons to love this old man!".

Hopefully you will have an opportunity to articulate your thoughts to him, with feelings, glances, touching, kisses and hopefully with many words (in dialogue) as well. Hopefully you will be even able to celebrate yet one more time your relationship and drink a glass of wine (or whatever his and yours favored drinks are).

Until then, how nice to see you articulating shelf without boundaries. You are building a good life for you my dear. Your friend A.

Elizabeth Brinton January 27, 2008 at 3:27 PM  

Tangobaby, This is so sad, and I send my hugs. One year ago I was dealing with my dad's illness and decline, and god it is hard, there just isn't much good about it, except to feel it makes us more human, deeper. How good that you are able to feel the love you have. It never goes away. Besos, E

Psyche January 27, 2008 at 7:04 PM  

I'm so sorry. Nothing to say but that I'm thinking of you.

miss tango January 28, 2008 at 8:23 AM  

Thinking of you and sending a virtual hug.

studio wellspring January 28, 2008 at 9:51 AM  

thank you for sharing, you're so thoughtful & adorable even when you're in a place of hurting.
this made me cry all over again ~ i'm going thru a similar situation with my grandma {last grandparent} right now. found out this weekend they are putting her on hospice. i'm so glad i got to say goodbye to her a couple weeks ago, but it doesn't ease the confusion & sadness that goes along with such great loss. let's go have a fancy lunch today to honor our grandparents??

Anonymous January 28, 2008 at 10:10 AM  

TB, I'm so sorry that you are dealing with this. Saying it's part of life does not make it any easier. But you should know that, regardless of your beliefs, your grandfather will always live on, each and every time you think of him.

tangobaby January 28, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

Dear lovelies,

Coming back to my computer to see all of you here made me tear up all over again, but this time it was happy, sweet crying.

What I realize about this world through you is that even though you and I might be thousands of miles away from each other, in different countries and you might even be asleep while I write this, is that goodness abounds and that people will always be there for each other. That we all have the same fundamental experiences, questions, fears. You truly helped me on a day where I felt quite lost and helpless.

I can also tell you for a fact that electric hugs do work. I am grateful to have each and every one from all of you sweet, dear people.


Anonymous January 28, 2008 at 10:24 AM  

Dear Tangobaby,

Your grandfather is a lucky man to have such an amazing, loving, sensitive, talented granddaughter.I wish him a speedy recovery and brighter days!


NYC Tango Pilgrim January 28, 2008 at 10:28 AM  


Here is a big hug from the other side of the country.

Malevito January 28, 2008 at 2:12 PM  

Hey TB, just joining in the love, sending positive vibes your way. Take care, you tanguera in training, you!

Malevito January 28, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
24tango January 28, 2008 at 3:54 PM  

The naked-truth of our past is often seen to be both bruised and fragile; - that's perhaps why we tend to keep still, sometimes for an eternity.


Maryam in Marrakesh January 29, 2008 at 12:36 AM  

I thought I would stop by and say hello from Marrakech, and I am so glad that I did.

I was wondering, to honor your grandfather and to keep his memory, whether you might not consider doing an oral life history for him. All it would take was some time to think of some questions (what was his proudest moment, what was his biggest challenge, etc) and a taperecorder. You said he was reserved but perhaps you could talk to him about it and I am sure it would make him feel valued.

This might be too much to think about right now but it would be so lovely to have, now and into the future.

Warmest wishes from across the sea.

tangobaby January 29, 2008 at 1:35 PM  

Dear Maryam,

Thank you so much for your gracious comment. I know that idea has been something that our family has talked about before, but my grandpa has not really wanted to talk into a tape recorder. Maybe there is a way we can make him feel more comfortable with that and capture some of his stories because memories will not last forever.

I have to tell you that I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, thanks to the introduction from Ms. Wellspring. I confided in her that someday I would love to visit you in your home/hotel in Marrakesh. Even just typing that word--Marrakesh--invokes dreams of orange blossoms and air thick with spices.

Thank you for visiting from across the sea and bringing some sunshine with you.

Malena January 29, 2008 at 7:30 PM  

Dearest TB,
I am just seeing this and I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with all of you. I hope he gets better soon.
Many hugs from both of us!

Katie January 30, 2008 at 6:30 AM  

Hang in there, love.