they pay to kiss your feet

since there's no one else around, we let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know. then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Some people are survivors. I'd like to think that I am, but I don't think I've been through enough yet to really know. My grandpa though, is a survivor. My grandma died when I was 6. That same year, my grandpa remarried. And for 20 years, he remained faithful to his new wife. As she got older and more frail and a little sick, he cared for her. He was strong for her. He is always so strong — strong enough to beat a brain surgery that the doctors were 90 percent sure would kill him.

Yesterday, I was in Chicago. I was sitting in the back of a taxi on the highway trying to get to the airport. We were stopped in traffic and Holly and I were talking about what our husbands like to put on turkey sandwiches. We didn’t see it coming, so we were pretty relaxed when we got rear ended. The woman that hit us apologized and said she had a death in the family and that she really shouldn’t have been driving. And then, she left. We were sore from the whiplash and our backs hurt but we were okay. We were also emotional because Holly, 10 weeks pregnant, wanted to make sure her baby was okay and things just didn’t seem right. When we were sitting on the plane, I turned to Holly and said that it certainly didn’t feel like a Wednesday. She agreed and mentioned that she didn’t know what day it felt like. We decided there really wasn’t a name for yesterday.

Yesterday probably didn’t feel like a real day to my grandpa either. Around 1 p.m. as he and his wife were eating dinner, she began to choke. He tried to help her, but couldn’t. When the ambulance came, he asked if her heart was beating and they answered “Just a little bit.” She didn’t make it. He had to watch his wife die in his house in front of him. He had to feel so helpless and confused and afraid. And I can’t even begin to imagine what thoughts must have been going through her mind as she sat there, unable to breathe, sitting across the table from her strong, supportive husband who couldn’t do a thing.

Last night, my grandpa kept reminding us that he was a survivor as we watched him write the obituary. I guess that’s what he needed to do to cope. He needed to keep busy and so he was on his cell phone most of the night. Talking to her hairdresser because they were great friends. Talking to family and to her daughter and then he moved around a pile of towels and talked about how he had been grocery shopping that morning and had bought food she likes and that he had plenty of green beans in the house because he had bought them for her. I still told him I’d bring over dinner and that if he didn’t feel like eating, he could freeze it. I told him I loved him and that I’d see him soon and then my mom, his daughter, spent the night there. It’s probably the first time they’d slept under the same roof since she was in high school. It probably felt a lot different last night.


  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Kat said…

    I am so very, very sorry. What a terrible, awful day. Please know my thoughts are with you. I hope your family and Holly will be okay.

  • At 9:46 PM, Blogger noapostrophe said…

    It's odd how we go about our business and an awful day like that just sneaks up on us. I'm so so sorry about your grandfather's wife. It sounds like they lived a very happy 20 years together. Condolences to you and your whole family, and best wishes to Holly and her baby.

  • At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sorry jessi. but even more, glad you're ok.


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