Catharsis #2  

lissi888888 53F
1330 posts
8/3/2006 8:43 pm

Last Read:
8/3/2006 8:56 pm

Catharsis #2

I REMEMBER PAPA and THE BIG C

I remember Papa. When I first met him I was 4. He was an ornery old fart and he was very crusty. What did I expect from an old mechanic? LOL He was my Papa (grandpa) and he thought I was pretty cool...when he was lucid enough to track a conversation.

Papa and Nana were alcoholics. I know from snippets of mom's conversations that Papa had always been one and that Grandma had thrown him out shortly after the night he got drunk, was playing with a gun and barely missed my mom's head with the bullet when the gun went off, he was mad and he was drunk at the time. I know that Papa was a mean drunk. He was vicious when he was on the drink...and he was always on the drink.

When we came back to the states and were living too close not to visit, Mom and Dad would go a'visitin and would drag us kids along. If Papa and Nana were drunk (which was almost always) then us kids played out in their backyard or in Great Nana's backyard (she lived next door). Then along about when I was 8, Papa got sick. It wasn't the drink (as took most of his siblings and most of the rest of the family actually)...it was the other family curse...the Big C (Cancer). He went downhill quickly. He was this huge man. Tall, strong, feisty. My parents were conflicted throughout those 3 months. We went to visit Papa often...but when we went, us kids had to stay in the car. They didn't want us to see Papa cause he just wasn't the same man.

The last time my father saw Papa alive...he was a shell of the man he had been. This vital man had gone from 250 lbs of ornery cuss to 140 lbs of beaten man. Papa had given up. My father picked Papa up and put him on the hospital bed for the last time...and told us about it later. He said he was shocked cause Papa was so light. This is one of the very few times my father shed tears.

They had the funeral in October..I had turned 9 by then. I felt I was old enough to go to the funeral. I wanted to say goodbye...but it wasn't "seemly." I was "too young." They never understood that I wasn't too young. I still visit his grave when I get to town.

That old cranky dude...was never the man my mother knew and loathed as a child. He was always happy and I probably never really knew him. That doesn't matter to me. The him I knew was decent...and really did care.

I remember shortly after he was diagnosed. Papa wanted to make sure us grandkids had something from him. He took me down to his cellar and was looking around. Finally, he found it. It was a flag with 48 stars...you'd have thought it was a faberge egg the way he treated it. That flag must've been special to him...must've meant something. I can't recall if he told me what that something was...but I do still have it. It's a memory and I keep it safe.

Family is important. No matter how screwed up they are...they are always your blood for better or for worse. We may be a dysfunctional family from way back...but we're family...and that's all that matters ain't it?





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