Maine After Nan Died

My grandma died on July 10, 2008.  It was a Thursday and I was planning on spending a long weekend in Maine with some friends from college.  My dad told me I should still take my trip because it would take a few days to make the arrangements and for his brothers to fly in from Arizona anyway.


We weren’t surprised that she died.  I had resigned myself to that fact months earlier.  I was heading home from an exam and saw an ambulance in front of me heading in the same direction. Somehow I just knew it was going to my house.

My grandma was a stubborn old lady.  Even at 81 she didn’t ask for help putting something on the top shelf in her closet, but instead decided to stand on a chair and do it herself.  She fell off the chair onto the hardwood floor and broke her hip.

I entered the house to her screaming in agony.  I tried to see if there was anything I could do to help, but I just couldn’t listen to her cries.  I went downstairs to my room and started throwing shit around, which is what I am prone to do when I’m upset.  My grandma had survived multiple open-heart surgeries, but I knew she wouldn’t make it through this.

When I was just a baby, my parents were having a house built and decided that my dad’s parents would move in with us, I think for financial reasons.  My grandpa died when I was seven and my parents were divorced when I was eleven, and after that it was just myself, my sister, my dad, and my grandma in the house.  My dad always worked two or three jobs so we spent a lot of time in my grandma’s care.  She was one of my greatest influences in life.


I met Dan at the Ronkonkoma train station.  He lives in the city and doesn’t have a car there so I end up driving when we travel.  I didn’t know how to tell him about my grandma.  It didn’t affect our trip, so I didn’t say anything at first.

We missed the first ferry out of Orient Point so we killed the time at a restaurant next door.  While we were there I stepped outside to call my sister, who was closer to my grandma than I was, to see how she was taking it.  I used this as an opening to tell Dan the news.

“Everything okay,” he asks.
“Yeah.  I was just calling my sister.  My grandma died this morning and I wanted to see how she was taking it.”
“Oh. Sorry.”
Awkwardness ensues.

We met Mark, Oliver, Emily, and Nikki in Massachusetts. Dan and I went to college with Mark and Oliver, Emily was Oliver’s girlfriend (now fiancée), and Nikki is Emily’s friend.  We made it up to Maine in a few hours and were having a great time.

On Saturday we bought some steaks and lobsters.  We were planning a feast.  Dan and I were manning the grill, drinks in hand.  We had been drinking for a couple hours.  At some point Mark came out with fresh drinks for us, and I asked them if they’d mind a toast to my grandma.  This is how Mark found out she had died.

After this my recollection of the evening gets unreliable.  I have memories like snapshots. My friends have filled in the blank spots for me.

We were eating dinner on the screened in porch.  I had not stopped drinking and it was getting difficult to stem my emotions.  I remember stuffing my face with food and I think I started crying.  This is how Oliver, Emily, and Nikki found out my grandma had died.

I excused myself from the table and ran out the front door, disappearing into the night.  Oliver and Dan found a couple flashlights and came after me.  Dan was quite drunk at this point as well. They were worried about me, I think, because they thought I had gone down to the rocks. 

The rocks is where we would hang out around sunset, or sunrise if you were up that early.  They could be dangerous, especially at night, and especially if you were drunk.  But I didn’t go to the rocks.  I ran up the dirt road toward the main road and at some point decided I should lay down in the road. 

Oliver and Dan worked their way from the rocks toward me when Dan had to vomit.  He got down on hands and knees and puked in the neighbor’s yard.  Oliver had both flashlights at this point, using one to keep an eye on Dan and the other to find me.

Find me they did, and they led me back to the cottage, but I started running and escaped their view.  When they got back to the cottage Mark, Emily, and Nikki said they saw me run past the house and into the back yard.

They shined their flashlights into the woods, hoping I wasn’t being mauled by a bear.  They thought they saw me but weren’t sure, so they gave up.  I had gone in the back door and up to my bed.  I was already sleeping.

I woke up around 5:00 AM confused and thirsty.  I went downstairs as quietly as I could.  To get to the kitchen I had to walk right past Nikki, who was sleeping on the couch.  As I passed she woke up, and I gave her a kind of half smile as if to say, “Sorry to wake you, and sorry for the incredible awkwardness I created last night.  Now go back to sleep.”

After some water I sat in the recliner and stared at the ceiling for a while.  My pounding headache prevented me from falling back asleep.  Eventually Dan came downstairs and I followed him down to the rocks for the sunrise.

I wasn’t done mourning for my grandma, but this weekend in Maine with my friends eased the pain.  I will be eternally grateful to them for putting up with my shenanigans, though they don’t mind, I think, because they enjoy retelling the story. 

1 comment:

DM said...

Now let's listen to this *GENIUS*

how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is *WRONG*
you cannot SILENCE ME... for the idiot called *


go look up this word in a dictionary, you f*cking moron...

you are not going to tell me what I believe...

we're going to play a NEW GAME......





you are going to learn even to TALK about GOD the way you do is going to cost you your lives...

the writing on the wall...

f*ck you very much!


see how we take a term and convert it into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL DIMENSION - THAT OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...


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