- Denver, Colorado
- Last Record: 2013-04-19 17:01:11 -0400
- Joined: Aug 12, 2010
When I was nine years old, I searched my grandfather’s desk for a pad of paper to draw on. He was a carpenter and he owned a business making furniture for people but he was no businessman and his desk was always a slew of papers, evidence of an ongoing battle against clutter. That day, instead of finding a blank pad of paper, I found an unaddressed envelope stuffed with $20’s, $50’s, and $100 bills. I gasped, unable to imagine how many millions of dollars must be in that envelope and I replaced it exactly as I found it. I thought to myself, “My grandfather must be the smartest, richest, best carpenter ever.” Five years later, my grandpa moved in with us because the IRS repossessed his house. He failed to pay $200,000 in business and personal taxes over the last ten years.
“I guess I just forgot,” he smiled, and shrugged.
When I was nineteen, I got a phone call from my mom, frantic because my grandpa hadn’t come home by midnight. He was going to an interview to work for a small furniture company but had been gone all afternoon and all evening. We stayed up all night, worried, hoping for a phone call and anticipating bad news. When the phone did ring, two hours later, it was the state patrol. My grandpa had driven from Denver, Colorado to the middle of Kansas on Interstate 70. When we picked him up, he looked over at me, smiled and said, “I dunno what happened, but I probably won’t get that job. It’s too long to drive.”
Two years ago, my grandpa was playing bowling on the Wii with his hall mates at his assisted living home. After a long and laborious speech given by the staff to ensure the controller strap was firmly fastened around players’ wrists before playing, my grandpa accidentally threw the controller at the relatively new flat-screen TV, tipping it backwards and knocking it off its flimsy stand (with minimal damage, thankfully). He forgot to ensure the controller strap was firmly fastened around his wrist before beginning and told me, “They didn’t want me to play with them after that. I don’t care, they’re gonna lose anyway.”
Last Christmas, Grandpa and I sat on the couch together and caught up.
“How is school?” he asked.
“It’s alright. I’m ready for it to be over.”
“Working hard?” he said.
“Yeah. I wish I could just be a kid again.”
He laughed, “So, how is school going?”
My grandfather doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. When I tell people that, they sigh in relief, like the alternative is better. He doesn’t remember conversations, directions, people’s faces. He can’t recall my little sister’s name or the year he was born, but at least he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. I look at him sometimes and don’t see anyone behind his eyes. There have been times where he spends almost half an hour in the bathroom and I’m sure it’s because he can’t recall whether he’s used it or not; the urges are gone, but his mind no longer confirms. What that must be like…
I love him and I miss him. I look at him now and see a shell. All that remains is a slew of memories he can’t keep in order, evidence of an ongoing battle against clutter.