I heard an old song today, and it created this blog. Well, that and the need to update my faithful readers on something serious.
My grandpa on my dad's side is 83 years old. But he has been pretty healthy up until now. Well, last Saturday, he had a heart attack, and was flown to the veterans hospital near me, because he is a World War II vet, complete with a Purple Heart.
They found upon searching that at least three, possibly all four, major arteries are completely blocked and require surgery, which he is scheduled to go in for at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. My family, in calling to tell me this, assured me that I didn't have to be there, that praying was enough. This made me angry and caused a hailstorm of thought.
This is the same "family" who didn't even bother notifying me that my own grandpa had a heart attack. I found out by reading somebody's face book update. Maybe it was a note directly to me, I can't remember, but still, a phone call would have been much more appropriate. At least. And I hurried to make the hour and a half commute to the hospital, only to receive "what are you doing here" type of head swivels by my two sisters and their respective spouses when I showed up at the door of his hospital room. Really? That's my grandpa.
But it actually got me questioning if I should go, when everyone is expecting me not to. Here is the dichotomy in my thinking.
If I'm doing it as old Amber there's no question. But now that I'm growing testicles I'm very confused. It isn't about them, it's about me putting myself through the physical trauma of dragging the myself up there, especially that early in the morning, and watching them all be fake and especially my stepmom who acts like she has no clue that anything is wrong with the way I'm treated whatsoever, because she probably doesn't have said clue, and giving them the chance to pretend on the outside that we are a close-knit family who really cares about what happens to each other. I don't know how to explain it. I'm really confused.
My grandpa was not all that stellar to me growing up, but that has more to do with his generation than how he really feels about me as a person. Because of his generational misconceptions and the way his son and family treats me, I don't think he ever got to know me as a person. But he shows me genuine love and concern and I feel like I need to go to be able to say I love you to someone who actually says it back to me before he goes to sleep in case he doesn't ever wake up.
He is actually kind of proud of me, I think. He is always telling the nurses how well I get around town and how independent I am. I don't know if it's more surprise or pride, but whichever, it's kind of cool, and a little cute.
So I'm going. I guess the old automatically caring amber will always shine through no matter how big a set of testicles I grow.
But it got me thinking. Now that I am free to have such divided ways of thinking, it makes me feel like I'm going through what adolescence should have been, around 16 or so years late. I don't know if that makes me proud of myself or sad for who I used to be. Some weird combination of both.
The old song I heard today is very appropriate in some ways. You probably have all heard it. The chorus goes "say it loud, say it clear; you can listen as well as you hear. It's too late when we die to admit we don't see eye to eye..."
That's why I'm going.
Not because I actually think I will ever be able to get them to understand, nor do I want to fight with them or explain to them why I am leaving. Most of them have been moved into the irrelevant in my life category. Not that they are not in my life, or that they are irrelevant as human beings, because they're not, or that I hate them or have hard feelings toward them. I don't anymore. But if they are not going to help me change and grow and become the person I am, then I really don't need to worry about what they think before I do something to change and grow and become the person I am.
I am going because while I am here I still bear my Grandpa's last name. So for one more day, for his sake, I will bear it with pride.
For the soldier who was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge saving lives and carrying the brand-new repeater rifle called the Browning.
For the farmer who raised seven children and crops out of nothing and having nothing.
For the husband of 62 years, almost 63, almost unheard of in this day and age.
For the quiet country preacher, who has probably exposed more people to his brand of the Gospel than I will ever meet.
For the grandpa, who although he didn't always know how to include me, always went a little out of the way of what was considered proper in his generation to let me know I was loved. And now it's more fragile, but when I was little, I remember riding on his horse and his tractor. Even when everyone said I wasn't supposed to.
He is facing the biggest fight of his life tomorrow and needs someone in the trenches, someone praying, but doing more than praying. Someone knowing that everyone has multiple facets to them, and that each part is important. Someone keeping his memories safe for him while he sleeps so he can keep on making more if he wakes up, and so that he knows they will not be forgotten if he does not wake up.
For all those people wrapped up into one person, I will be there.
And that's because I'm caring sacrificial Amber and Amber growing a spine and testicles at the same time. Both parts make up the prison my true friends love, and that I'm learning to love myself.