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April 22, 2008 / allyo

Stan’s

It was the last place I ate out with both my grandparents, back in 1984, before my grandfather died. It was summer, August maybe? If so it was less than two months before the end. We were eating there the day or week or whatever before he went to the doctor. He hadn’t been feeling well all summer, and had finally decided to go in.

What I didn’t know then was the cancer, it had come back. I didn’t know that the radiation treatments 3 years before hadn’t worked, and that he and my grandmother had carried the secret with them since. I didn’t know this was the last normal meal we would have together, and that the next few weeks would go so quickly, that the beginning of my high school years would be marked by a parade of relatives’ cars parked outside the school building, rotating, changing daily, signaling a turn for the worse, that he was back in the hospital during that a month-long merry go round of back and forth between home and hospital bed.

But there was a lot I didn’t know. I didn’t know that the night I went to choir practice instead of staying home would be his last night in my grandparents’ bed. He had just come home, but it wasn’t to stay. The next day there was yet another car – my aunt’s? my uncle’s? I don’t remember – waiting for me at the end of the school day and less than four days later, he was gone.

It was years before I could drive past the restaurant. I never did go back even though their food was cheap and delicious. I always meant to. One day, we’d take Jamie. One day that will probably never come, since it was destroyed by a fire last week. A total loss.

Since my grandmother died I haven’t had a lot of tears to spare for my grandfather, although his loss still cuts deep. It’s different though because I was still a child when we lost him. I don’t know, would he like who I became? What would his steady presence, his constant support, what would they have meant all these years?

I feel so far away and so removed from that girl that wore her band jacket to the funeral even though it was too hot, because it was the last thing he and I bought together.

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2 Comments

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  1. MystikMamma / Apr 22 2008 7:28 pm

    Sorry to see a landmark is not gone. I drive by my grandpa’s gas station turned grocer turned donut shop now and then and it has been torn down and built over with some internet cyber thing. It is strange, to see how progress continues without a thought to what it does to our memories.

    But some how, we manage to wake up everyday and do it all over again. Eat, shower, put the clothes on, laugh, cry, drive etc. We live and we do it with their memory close to our heart.

  2. MystikMamma / Apr 22 2008 7:28 pm

    Sorry to see a landmark is now gone. I drive by my grandpa’s gas station turned grocer turned donut shop now and then and it has been torn down and built over with some internet cyber thing. It is strange, to see how progress continues without a thought to what it does to our memories.

    But some how, we manage to wake up everyday and do it all over again. Eat, shower, put the clothes on, laugh, cry, drive etc. We live and we do it with their memory close to our heart.

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