It's true, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine...

What - There's More?

, posted: 26-Feb-2008 17:45

Sorry, this has been a bit hard typing up and my computer is stuffing up and I just lost what I was writing...  Remind me to save it more often... 

I will try again.  As you know (dear readers), Big Al did the disappearing trick...

What I haven't mentioned yet is my grandfather's third wife.  She shall remain nameless, but the horror is forever etched in my mind.  In all my family members' minds...

Mother's theory is that he was punishing himself for the death of his first wife, because he hadn't believed she was so ill.  My theory is that because the two subsequent wives were so similarly warped, it was his fault, and maybe my grandmother, status of sainthood not withstanding, might just have been a bit weird, also. 

(They will probably want my head on a plate for such heresy...)

Anyway, after having moved in with my mother I used to enjoy visiting Grandpappy, and we used to take an hour's drive south and go horseriding.  Just a few old hacks, but if you knew the good ones you got a good ride.  If the best or my favourite were taken it was just a matter of waiting for the next 'round'.

Well, I went down there one weekend and things were a bit different.  He was going on a 'date'.  (At his age!)  I got to stay at my best friend's place next door.  However, next morning, we did not go horse riding as anticipated.

(Pardon me for a minute while I try to retain my composure.  I just finished this and DELETED it.  This really doesn't want to be written.)

Okay.  She was an alcoholic.  My grandfather had met her at the tennis club.  She had lost her job, and was about to lose her lodgings.  He was trying to help her.  (Kids, don't try this at home.)  If only he had left her to hit rock bottom.  He could have said, right, I'll take your stuff, and you go to the aclohol clinic and sort yourself out and I will be here for you when you come out.  As it turned out, she went a few times, but it was always back to the grog.  And gave us all nearly thirty years of misery.

She even had a 'boyfriend' who used to visit during the day and drink with her. 

Christmases were not very nice.  About mid-afternoon she would appear from her 'hole' and hurl abuse at any and all.  There was no grog allowed for anyone else, it was all locked up, so tempers used to flare on all sides.  Uncle Chris, the joker of the family, used to say one person took the gate, another took the gate posts, and then there was the one who took 'a fence'. 

I never went horseriding again with my grandfather, but she took me once.  That's when I decided I would NEVER ever get in a car with a drunk driver ever again...  And at my age (14) she was trying to give me sex education.  (ee-yew or however you spell it...)  Besides, I already knew it all, didn't I!

I moved to NZ in '82 and then got the news that she was in hospital with cancer.  Now, my grandfather always used to tell them she was an alcoholic, so they could control the DT's etc, or feed the addiction, whatever, but this time her whole body went into overload.  The heart stopped, lungs collapsed, coma etc. 

So I started praying for her.  Mostly for her salvation.  She pulled through.  Funny thing, every time she was sick she was happy for me to pray for her, but get her when she was well and she didn't want to know!!!

Next incident was in the late nineties when she fell off the back porch and completely smashed her arm.  Turns out she had found a lump in her breast several months before, so while she was 'captive' she 'fessed up, and had the entire breast removed. 

She had not been a pretty site (Hm, Freudian Slip perhaps?  Lets try not a pretty SIGHT),  before, but she was fearsome when wandering around lop-sided, still hurling abuse, especially when she ventured out the front door...

Finally her body just stopped working, it was in 2001, I think.  She was admitted to hospital, and slowly she slipped out of an agonising consciousness into coma.  Her liver and kidneys had gone, and basically she died waiting for transplants that were never going to come.

Well, do you think it was over?  No, we had the Funeral and Will to get through.  She had spent all my grandfather's pension and saved hers.  Now eighty-odd grand was left to her brother, whom she had hated with all the hate I have ever seen.  He came over from the other side of the world, where he had sought refuge from a horrible family, to bring his father over from Western Aus.  He was in his nineties, and nearly blind.  He wouldn't touch the money...

Her father insisted on seeing the body, and dragged my grandfather there.  Mum went to look after Grandpappy.  It was terrible, her father was so heart-broken... 

At the crematorium they pull you in one door and push you out another so they can repeat the process...  Every hour on the hour, maybe?  Grandpappy kept hitting mum on the leg he was so agitated.  We sat there gob-smacked while the local anglican minister told us how she had lived next door to an anglican church and taught sunday school as a teenager, therefore was going to heaven!!!

I found out later that I was not the only one who was disgusted, and the family vowed not to have that man at grandpappy's funeral.  I wanted to ask him how he, as a christian, could say those things, but was afraid I might lose it.

Okay, she started out fine, but what happened?  The beautiful, athletic, talented embroiderer and crocheter was destroyed by alcohol.  How she started I will never know.  I found some of her artwork after my grandfather had passed away.  The back of the embroidery was as neat as the front.  She had inspired me to take up the art.  I started on a half-finished piece of hers I had found.  I finished the round of crochet, then embroidered it.  I still have it.

She was a good knitter, and had made the girls lots of beautiful pieces.  I have the books she used - she made one of everything in each of these books.  Knitting had been her therapy and entrance into the thinking world after the coma proceeding her first cancer.

Anyway, my grandfather had two years of life without her, saldy he had developed dementia by then, but his daughters looked after him, and spoiled him in many ways, things like good food after nearly thirty years of drunk's food.  We've had the 'Grey Death'.  I wonder what we could call a whole piece of blade, cooked in the crock pot, the juices poured off for the daschunds, and the dry meat served up with mushy veg.  We think he was actually being starved... 

Dry Death, maybe.  Any suggestions?

Other related posts:
So, How's Junior?
Losing our sponsored child...

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Linda George
New Zealand

Five Children*, Three Cats*,
One Husband, One of Me.
(Oddly enough...)
A few Aussie Accents,
One dedicated Kiwi,
Several ANZACS.
Go Figure.

*One Kitty Kat...

What I write from my life might just help you in yours...