When we sit down to think about someone’s life we usually grab onto a set of memories to reflect on. I’m convinced this is a piss awful way to think about human lives, but I’ve yet to come up with more clever ideas.
How do we decide which memories get ingrained as the bits that will live on in us, why can I remember my mom’s love of “House of Sand and Fog,” but not her favorite food? These things feel so random, and I so wish I could find more of these impressions, but these people are gone now. Whatever’s left of them is now just a collection of vignettes.
When my dad died I remembered playing catch in the yard, vague memories of volcanic stones littering the back yard, and walking around the canyon behind where we lived. I remember playing out a memory of us admiring his tomatoes while he looked so shriveled in front of me.
With my mom, there were moments at the beach. Times she would embarrass me in front of my friends. I remember the graduation party she put together, while they removed the breathing tube from her twisting form, dripping with edema.
My uncle has his own subset of recollections, he was always a silly man, making the most outlandish jokes. His churn obeyed its own internal logic, and seamlessly he can jump from car facts to fart jokes. He has always loved cooking and sharing the joy that food brings. He would spend all day in front of a giant pot to make his famous paella, and he would always ask if you liked it. Over and over he would ask, “are you happy,” after working himself down in the kitchen. This plays out in front me while he lays in a hospice bed. He is cocooned in heavy blankets, his hair has fallen out, and he can no longer speak. Soon he will become, like the others, a collection of memories, abstractions to remind us of our roots.
For my grandma though, these memories are not so abstract. Instead of the Polaroids that draw lines around my Uncle, she has a complete photo.
When my mom died, my grandma brought out a collection of photos and stories which she shared with me, she played biographer, telling me things I’d never known about my mom and who she was before I’d known her. I think completion is a painful thing. No parent wants to watch their children die, and my for my grandma this will be the second loss.
I’m heartbroken, and while we never shared a deep relationship, my Uncle’s condition has sullied the food I eat, and the coffee I drink. For my grandma, this loss is infinitely more painful.
Over the next few weeks, I will most likely not be appearing in TSF programming. This time is going to be used to make sure my grandma has someone to grieve with.
Things at home are going to be unstable. Making sure my grandma is eating and taken care of is going to take precedence for a while.
I don’t expect to be out longer than a week or two, but just be aware that I’ll be out. Everyone else at TSF is going to keep things going. Cold Brew will continue to run, streams will continue to happen, articles will keep being released, but my involvement will be limited until I feel comfortable with things at home. I trust everyone at TSF to keep things going with my limited availability, they’re my friends because I know they will get shit done. Every stream, every project.