This last weekend I attended the memorial service for my Grandmother in North Carolina. Beyond the immediate emotional shock of losing someone, this comes on the heels of a few years of what I can only describe as a monumental loss. As some are aware, I lost my father in 2017 – with whom I was very close. In many ways, losing my Grandmother marked the end of an era- the end and death of my childhood. To border on cliche, Dylan Thomas once wrote that you can’t go home – a sentiment that I am personally identifying with right now.
Because of the timing of the event, I ended up having to book these insane flights – one of which left me in Denver CO overnight. I arrived into town around 4 PM to cool air and wide open skies. Admittedly drunk, I made my way to the hotel and checked in showering right before my second wind. After a small amount of rest, I headed to a local Mexican eatery – where I enjoyed good food, made a few friends and had a few cervezas. After a dispensary hit I retired to my room where I anxiously awaited my 5 AM flight time.
When something like that is creeping up, I can never sleep. I basically sat in bed, stoned watching Forensic Files for hours waiting for sleep to hit. It didn’t and the next morning I was dealing with the epic long lines of DIA. Another long flight and I arrived in Charlotte to immediately drive to East Bend. An overwhelming rush of feelings came over me upon seeing my family – some of whom I have not seen in many years. Feelings ran high, exacerbated by alcohol and the overwhelming sadness of the occasion. The night came rushing forward akin to a rushing train barreling through the cold woods that surrounded me. I spent the night in a hospital bed originally purchased for my Aunt who is also no longer with us, that had been taken to my grandmothers for her to use once she left hospice, which she never did. Needless to say drunk or not I got no sleep.
Morning came fast. Anxiety got me up and dressed early. We journeyed a short distance to the church – a small building built in the latter part of the 1800’s. The service was intense, emotional, and affirming of my grandmother’s life. After all, she was an incredible woman whom without I would not have such a huge love of reading. Without my Granny my mother would not have her love of the written word – which was passed on to me. Granny was a loving person, kind to both humans and animals. No one ever said a cruel word about her.
The journey home was contemplative and slightly arduous with getting stuck at LAX for a little while. Through traffic, it took hours to get back to Hollywood, each second the alcohol wearing off more and more and the sadness slowly creeping in the back of my mind. I leave again this Friday and am gone for a little bit. Traveling without my wife is tough, and feels somehow hollow knowing that so many pivotal people in my life are gone. While I recognize the cycle of life, I somewhat damn it – wishing selfishly to keep those I love alive with me forever so that I can forever have them in my company. These last few years have been poignant
and at times brutal. Here’s to hoping for at least 5 years of no one dying.