Friday, September 07, 2007

Death & an Interview

Sorry I've been such a slacker, but I've been so busy at work that when I come home it's all I can do to keep my eyes open, much less actually string words together into actual sentences.

Grandma's husband died on Tuesday. He deteriorated so quickly, it's not even funny. He was relatively fine when Grandma went into the hospital for her bleeding ulcers, and that was less than a month ago. I wasn't home at all on Sunday. From Mass I went to Pamela's for a much needed haircut, from Pamela's I went to a guy's house to watch the baseball game. The Tigers were playing so hideously and the game was lasting forever, so I left around 4:00. I had to help Grandma fill out the trip insurance paperwork for the airline tickets she had to cancel for Labor Day weekend. My brother had told me on Friday that her husband, Eugene (not his real name) hadn't been awake since Monday, while I was there on Sunday he was moved to the "actively dying" list. Grandma wanted to go to my uncle's for dinner, so I told her that I would stay with him while she got away for a little bit and got some food. My mom decided to stay as well. While we were sitting there, I was rubbing his hand hoping it offered some comfort, if there was enough of him still there to appreciate it. I told my mom that it was lucky he married Grandma because otherwise he'd have been all alone.

When I had gotten to hospice that afternoon, his son was there, but he left while I was helping Grandma with her paperwork in the Family Room. He had been there three times that week, but he didn't like it because Eugene wouldn't wake up and talk to him. A little unclear on the concept, eh? His daughter had been there on Friday after work, didn't come on Saturday at all, and then showed up briefly Sunday early afternoon. She was gone long before I got there. I guess she was there when he died.

So, my entire family (minus one aunt who just doesn't have any time off) is either here or arriving in time for the Memorial Mass on Saturday. My Grandma is doing quite well. Mom told me that she choked up a bit on Sunday when calling the funeral home to give them the heads up, but other than that, she's been doing well. Someone, might have been my uncle, on Sunday called her "Our Little Rock of Gibraltar." She was so good with him, too. She would tell him that he had so many visitors and all these people were here to see him, and she would kiss him on his forehead. When she left for dinner, she told him that and told him to have a nice nap, and when she got back from dinner, she bent over and told him she was back and did he have a nice nap and how Mom and I stayed there with him.

Once this weekend is over, I'm hoping Grandma will now take the time she needs to recover from the internal bleeding. She gets weak and tires more easily than before, so she really needs to build her blood up. Now that she won't be sitting at hospice until all hours, she'll have no excuse for not taking care of herself.

My dearest friend Suzy (one of the very limited # of people with whom I keep in touch from my SF days) participated in an on-line interviewing process (aka survey or that other word I refuse to use) started by someone she reads. There are rules, of course:

Interview rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are Suzy's questions and my answers:

Here are the questions!

1. You're my idea of a true Detroiter. What's yours?

Someone who loves the city despite her faults, myriad though they are.

2. Why did you start blogging, and what keeps you doing it?

I started blogging the day I found out that my dear friend emmo2 was being released from the hospital and given one week to live. I needed to rail against the unfairness of life. He died less than 48 hours later and an hour before I was going to visit him to say I love him. He knew I loved him, but I wanted one last opportunity to tell him.

Truthfully, my regular readers keep me at it. I like reading other people's blogs and appreciate their efforts. I like it when people leave comments at my blog.

3. What's one thing none of your friends or family knows about you?

That I'm incredibly insecure. I figured my one aunt must think I'm really secure, because a couple of years ago, she went on and on and on and on about how everybody thinks my younger sister is so pretty, but she (the aunt) thinks that the OS (older sister) is absolutely gorgeous. I got to hear this not once, but twice!!! Not once did she say anything about me, she simply discussed how attractive my two sisters are.

4. When did you become a vegetarian, and why?

Oh heavens, it was a hundred years ago, give or take 80. I stopped eating beef & pork first and that was in 1985 (I think). I stopped eating poultry and fish New Year's Day 1991 or 1992 because I figured it was the next logical step if I were doing it for ethical reasons, which it had become over the years. I had never liked "meat" when I was growing up and would just cringe when we would have steak. When I was in college, I was never home (it was a commuter college). I would leave for school by 7:30 every morning and wouldn't go home until after the library closed at 11:00 p.m. One day I got home around 11:30 as usual and was looking for something to eat. I asked Mom what there was as I hadn't been home for dinner in years. She said, "There are some pork chops from today and hamburgers left from yesterday." I turned my nose up and gave a clear indication that neither option struck my fancy. My mother freaked out! "Oh my God, you've become a vegetarian…blah blah blah." I honestly don't remember exactly what she said other than that, but I do remember thinking, "Hmm, that's a good idea." The whole extended family (Grandma, aunts, uncles, sister, etc.) took it as a personal affront that I refused to eat meat after that. Then I stopped eating poultry and fish and they were just beside themselves, because they just didn't know what to feed me when it came to family dinners, as chicken was no longer an option. Thankfully within the past couple of years, my one cousin has become a vegetarian and another cousin married a vegetarian, so options are more plentiful than they used to be. Although, my one sister still refuses to have anything I can eat at her house. It's always, "Bring whatever you want to eat." I think it's unfair as nobody else has to do that, but whatever. After the spinach dip debacle, I just don't argue.

The spinach dip debacle occurred one year when I was asking the OS what I should bring for Christmas. She gave me a few options which included spinach dip. I said, "Oh, I could bring spinach dip (Easy!), except that Mom doesn't like my spinach dip." OS said, "Really? Oh, that's right you don't use beef bouillon." WTF?? "What?" "Yeah, our recipe calls for beef bouillon." "Why didn't you tell me you use beef bouillon?" "Why? It's not like it killed you." Needless to say, I was pissed off, but you see the attitude that I've had to deal with all these years. And trust me, it hasn't gotten any better. The best part is that whenever I tell somebody that story they all say, "Beef bouillon? Who makes spinach dip with beef bouillon?" In fact, a few of my friends are complete smart asses and will tell me that beef bouillon is in everything they make from brownies to potato salad. We all laugh.

5. What's the one talent you wish you had?

I always wanted to play the violin just like Violet from The Boxcar Children (my all time favorite childhood book). One problem with going to Catholic school is that there's no money (or at least there wasn't back in the 70s) for such frivolities as music or art. We did have music class once a week which consisted of us going to the music room (a double classroom in the 3rd wing) sometimes which contained an old piano. I’m not sure anybody ever played said piano, but we did sing songs as a class. I remember "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree," "My Darling Clementine" and other such classics. There was band or orchestra or whatever it was called in high school, but I was on the college prep track and there was no time for anything other than your basics that would get you into college. I would be surprised, actually, if anybody from my grade school took band/orchestra since music was not really encouraged. My freshman year of high school was so packed with classes that I didn't even get the mandatory gym class (took in sophomore year with all the freshmen – so embarrassing), nor did I have a lunch hour. I had to squeeze in lunch in a ten minute period.

And there ya go. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment or e-mail me and I'll rack my brain for some interesting questions.

Oh yeah, I see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow again. I'll keep you posted.

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At Thursday, 13 September, 2007, Blogger Dave said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother's loss. The thought of someone losing their partner just breaks my heart. I'm so glad you are there to offer your support.

Your spinach dip ordeal gave me a bit of a giggle. It reminded me of when my vegetarian friend visited over Christmas a couple of years back and he tried one of my butter tarts. He loved them. Then he asked what was in them. When I told him about the lard in the pastry just stopped dead in his tracks. "You realize this is the first animal product I've eaten in 15 years". Who knew?

Oh, btw, feel free to interview me if you're so inclined. (will I regret this?)

At Thursday, 13 September, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother's husband. I hope that her health and spirits improve. As far as your vegetarianism I won't say anything about that St. Patrick's Day...

At Thursday, 13 September, 2007, Blogger LL said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss as well. But at least you'll get to see most of your family for a short while again.

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Blogger Beth said...

I am sorry to hear of your grandmother's loss. I lost my father two years ago as of two days ago and my mother is still severely depressed. She's been with him since she was 16 and lost him in her 60's. I have to say, I didn't want to stay at the hospital with my dad when he was dying. I did for a few hours each day even though I had a complete family to take care of at home who didn't quite understand, but I don't think anyone dies and thinks, "That bitch wasn't with me when I died. Hate her!" My family spent a lot of time after my dad died trying to say who spent the most time with him and I was the first one to say stop the bullshit.

Your interview was interesting. Beef cubes in spinach dip is a new one to me. I'd love to be vegetarian, if only to be super skinny, but I do love red meat.

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dave - I've learned to ask about desserts, too, particularly pies. Silly lard. ;-) I'll work on questions for you over the weekend. Personally, I think Grandma will be better off not having to take care of him.

Jason - Doesn't count as I'm still pretty sure all I got was bread and mustard.

LL - Exactly and it's not like it's someone we loved to distraction (no offense to Eugene, but he spent too much time trying to isolate Grandma from us). The next four days are going to be all family.

Beth - No, I agree with you, except that his kids could have spent time there and given my Grandma a break. She didn't need spend 12 hours there every day, but she wasn't going to leave him alone. I think I'd have to go vegan to be super skinny. *sigh*

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Blogger trinamick said...

I don't have the will power to be a vegetarian - we eat meat with every meal. Plus, I'm cheap, and in this area, it would be too expensive to eat that way.

Loved the Boxcar Children books. I haven't thought about those in years.

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Blogger Heather said...

I'm sorry about your grandma's loss. That's the hardest thing is watching someone have to deal with the loss of someone they loved.

Maye your aunt didn't want to give you a big head by saying how pretty you were while you were there? Either way, that would have hurt me horribly!!

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Anonymous suzy said...

Hey girl - glad you have family around to help and comfort you and your grandmother. Hope your grandmother is doing as well as can be expected and that she starts taking care of herself for a change.

Sending you love & hugs!

At Friday, 14 September, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

I hope your grandma is coping and taking care of herself.

The interview was interesting. I'll take it point by point:

1. Loved this answer. I think everyone belongs somewhere and this should be how they feel about that place.

2. Oh (about the reason you started). So very sad. But the last bit - yes, the community of friends is the best thing.

3. You, too? I wonder if maybe deep down everyone is a bit insecure.

4. I couldn't do it. No way. I'm an omnivore and I would miss meat too much.

5. I had no idea Catholic school was so busy. PDM never let on about that (he went until he was 13 and his family moved from Springfield, IL to the north Georgia mountains, where there weren't any Catholic schools). He mostly has good things to say about his Catholic school experience, but he never got into much trouble so it was probably a good fit for him.

At Saturday, 15 September, 2007, Anonymous The Zombieslayer said...

That's sad. Sorry to hear that about your Grandma's husband.

I too wish I knew the violin. I can play guitar and piano, and own a bass for recording purposes, but never played the thing in front of people. I love violin, with Tchaikovsky's violin concerto & Bruch's violin concerto being 2 of my all-time favorite pieces.

Oh, I wouldn't mind being interviewed. You could email me at zombieslayer AT pretentiouscritics DOT com.

At Saturday, 15 September, 2007, Anonymous The Zombieslayer said...

Oh, you've been tagged. :)

At Monday, 17 September, 2007, Blogger Sal said...

All I can say is dealing with death sucks, hope your Grandmother is handling it well.

That bullion thing is b/s, my suggestion is getting vegan beef bullion (or is that something you only find in SF).

Feel free to interview me if you have time...

At Monday, 17 September, 2007, Blogger MyUtopia said...

Sorry to hear about the death of your grandmother's husband! If you are in need of some happy good news pop in over at my blog, I made a rather big announcement.

At Tuesday, 18 September, 2007, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Sorry to hear of your grandmother's loss. Hope she's doing OK.

At Tuesday, 18 September, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Trina - Yeah, you're kind of in the middle of Midwest heartland, aren't you?

Suzy - Can't wait to see you on Friday!!

Fermi - Catholic school could be (at least when I went there) as tough or as easy you wanted (or as your parents let you). I was intent on earning the FF's approval, so I took all the classes I could.

Zombie - I adore Tchaikowsky's violin concerto. Will come up with questions, soon. Weekend was a tad hectic.

Sal - We have vegetarian vegetable bouillon here. Mom's finally learned to keep it on hand for things that normally call for chicken or beef bouillon when it's going to family functions.

Utopia - Not actually sad, but always up for a big happy announcement.

Doc - Thanks. I appreciate it.

At Tuesday, 18 September, 2007, Anonymous The Zombieslayer said...

take your time, and make sure you fully recover. Stress can cause health issues, as I found out the hard way. :(
I'll still be here.

At Monday, 24 September, 2007, Blogger Ben O. said...

Blog-slacking seems to be going around these days.

Miss ya - Ben O.


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