Monday, November 10, 2014

A Heavy but Thankful Heart

It's that time of year to be grateful, and I think it is a healthy exercise to look back on the year and pay some mental tribute to what it is that makes you grateful.  I've been somewhat anxious about the notion of Thanksgiving this year.  Thanksgiving in my mind is an image of my Grandfather Augie surrounded by his gaggle of grandchildren, turkey in front of him.  This has always been the one picture a year I find enjoyment in being a part of.  I'm not sure what we will be doing this year, but I assure all my readers, I don't think any of us are looking forward to it.  Instead of giving in to my sadness and the hole in my heart I want to be yet again grateful for my Grandfather.  A year did not go by that I wasn't grateful for him when he was alive, and why should it be different now that he is gone, which still in all honesty doesn't seem possible.

Me and Augie, let's say circa Thanksgiving 1987
I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago and I went to grab some lemons.  Naturally, I thought of Augie (lover of grocery stores) and how he taught me to choose the juiciest ones (his trick works every time).  Suddenly I had the urge to scream, cry and launch one of those lemons across the supermarket, hopefully pegging someone who had parked their cart and blocked some produce I couldn't get to earlier.  Since that time,  I go right up to those lemons and try to just feel grateful that I know how to pick out citrus like no other, and it's because I had the greatest Grandfather.  So much of my skill set, tiny and large, I possess because of him.  Some people don't even get to know their Grandfathers.  I got to be his Grandchild, his friend and eventually his employee for 34 years. 

The week before Augie died he was in the hospital, and we knew it wasn't going to be long.  I went over there on a Thursday afternoon with my brother.  Some of my cousins and my Grandmother, of course were there.  We actually had a nice time, as nice as it can be.  When Augie threw out one of his off color jokes to a nurse that he had a thing for, we all laughed, but I really wanted to cry.  I thought my heart might burst upon realizing this was going to be one of the last wisecracks I was going to hear out of him.  He delivered many that afternoon and I desperately clung to and soaked each one up, he really was a genius when it came to one liners.  This is another grateful moment folks.  I got to hear his perfectly delivered one liners for 34 years.  Training myself to be grateful instead of sad in these moments is not easy but necessary.

I have the PO box of the nurse who bared the brunt of his humor.  He really liked her a lot, and that is no small feat on her part.  She was one of those great nurses: positive, caring and not at all desensitized, at least not towards her patients.  Augie wanted to send her some jewelry and then with his passing, the funeral and my laziness nothing was sent to her.   He would not be happy with me if he knew I hadn't done this deed for him.  I'm going to put together some Lisa August jewelry and write her a nice note, to show my appreciation so she can know that there are people grateful to her this Thanksgiving.  Maybe she won't remember him (she probably will), but I will remember her because she gave him comfort when he was the most uncomfortable.

Just to not leave you hanging, she had the word Bell in her name and when she gave him her contact info, he simply told her: 'You could ring my bell anytime'.

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