Today is a bad day. I went a funeral this afternoon, for a family member that I haven't seen in a couple of years. Not only do I feel sad, but I feel endless amounts of guilt for not visiting with Grandpa Ed.
Ed wasn't my REAL Grandpa. He moved in with my Nanie when I was about 15. My Grandpa had passed away about 5 years earlier,and Nanie was lonely. She had raised 8 kids, and had never really ever been alone before.
I don't know how they met. I think that it was at the food court of a local mall. She was funny and personable,everyone that knew her liked her.
He was grumpy and surly, and used to having his own way. They hit it off.
I learned very quickly not to speak when Ed's favourite 'programs' were on T.V. People had been uncerimoniously tossed from the apartment for lesser offences. He and my Aunt Jill had a now legendary fight over country music. She was for he was against.
In spite of everything, I liked him. He was good to my Nanie. Some family members complained that she waited on him hand and foot. She did. She needed to. It was her way of saying that she cared. She needeed someone to fuss over, and he needed the fussing. It wasn't one sided by any means. Every time that Ed left the house, he came home with a present for his girl. It could be a can of hair spray,or a new lamp,or key chain. She needed that.
They would have been lost without each other. Indeed, they were.
In October of 2001,Nanie became ill. I can't even remember from what. What I do remember is Ed. I saw him at the hospital, and he was lost. He wouldn't leave her side, even after the doctors told us that she was gone.
At the funeral, he spoke of her as if she were still coming home. He looked different, like 1/2 a man. Not like our Ed at all.
I worried about where he would go, who would see that he ate,that his laundry got done,who would be there for him.
In December of that year,the unthinkable happened. Ed, despondant over the loss of his best friend, tried to kill himself. He set fire to his mattress,wanting to be with Nanie again. Of course, Ed being Ed changed his mind. He walked out of the apartment in his slippers,and went to have his oil changed. My Aunt Josie found him several hours later.
Most of my family members pretty much gave up on Ed then. They were angry with him for setting the fire that destroyed all momentos and tangible memories that they had of their parents. No one was hurt, but a lot of lives were affected. People were angry.
I saw the truth of it all. Ed wasn't trying to hurt anyone. He was in so much pain that he literally could not function without the love of his life. I understood then. I understand even better now.
Ed passed away last Friday, after living out his remaining years at a retirement home. He never recovered from his loss.
Today, along with the sadness, and guilt, I feel a little bit of joy. Maybe, just maybe, Nanie and Ed are together again. Watching their programs and drinking tea.
I hope that he says hello for me.