Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


My Grandpa died last Thursday and the funeral was today. I was taking the baby to see him on Wednesday (he and my Grandma lived three hours away) when he took a turn for the worse. So my one-day trip turned into six days. Ben and I lived out of plastic shopping bags and his diaper bag for three days until Ron arrived with a suitcase.

So I'm back home again and grateful to be here. Ron and I were both becoming a little unglued. I had him bring half my wardrobe when he came over because I didn't know what fit me anymore and I STILL ended up at the mall twice, hunting down shoes for me and a tie for Ron.

Ben wore nothing but sleepers for two days until Ron arrived. Thank God Ben is such a good baby. I was dragging him to various relatives' homes, putting him to sleep in his carseat, on his activity mat, in my baby cousin's bassinet. He handled it very well. Then Grandpa died Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. and I dragged poor Ben out of bed, bundled him up and hauled him to where the family was gathered. We didn't get home until 2 a.m.

I'm trying to deal with this OK; after all Grandpa was
87. He was a remarkable person, born in 1917 to Polish immigrants, served in World War II, went to work as a bank teller after the war and worked his way up to become a vice president. At age 62, he retired early because his doctor said his emphysema would kill him within 10 years. Well, we got 15 extra years. It was the emphysema in the end, though; Hospice put him on a morphine-induced coma because he was struggling to breathe.

Anyway, he was a great person. He bought me my first car and helped our family after my dad died. He built his own house, grew grapes and made wine, did carpentry and read history books. He was brilliant.

Sometimes I miss San Francisco so much and second-guess our decision to return. But I guess this is why we did, huh? I was able to be there for my mother and my Grandma and Grandpa saw Ben twice before he died.

This is vintage Grandpa: When Ron and I arrived last Easter with Ben, my Grandpa gave us a card with $20 in it. Ben was in top form, laughing and smiling and giggling and blowing bubbles and just staring at Grandpa. Grandpa was so charmed that he pulled out his wallet (he was having a good day, healthwise) and said "Ben, you've just earned another $20" and made Ron take it. I've put the card and money aside and will buy something special with it.


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