I'm embarrassed to say my first thought was that of relief when my mother called to say that he had passed away. It had been 2 years and I was completely exhaustedtrying to deal with him. Finally, it was over. In the last few weeks, his health had worsened, so I had called the nursing home that Sunday morning and asked the supervisor if I should drive to see him.She said he wasn't doing very well, but that he seemed to have nine lives; one minute he was at death's door, and the next he was sitting in the recreation room having another cigarette. It's a goodthing I didn't make the trip, because less than an hour later, my mom called to say it was over.
I remember when I first noticed that there was something wrong with grandfather. I lived only abouta mile away from my parents, and I walked over a couple of times a week to visit. That particular day as I walked up the back door, he stepped out of the garage and whispered in a secretive voicethat he needed to talk to me. He was concerned that his backyard neighbors were growing a mango tree in their backyard and he insisted that I come with him to take a look. Their fence was less than afoot away from the back of their garage, and it was apparent to me that there wasn't enough room for them to mow behind it.
It was a short time later that I got married and moved 30 miles away. Hewent downhill really quickly after that. First, he started having minor accidents with the car. He'd back out of the driveway really fast and slam into the car parked across the street. When theneighbors would come out to inspect their damaged car, he'd yell at them for having the nerve to park across from his driveway. Then one day he disappeared at 5:00 a.m. No one had any idea where he wasuntil my sister who lives in a Carolina suburb received a call from the police in Canovana at midnight. It seems they found him standing outside of his car, completely disoriented. He explained to the...