Laika’s Spout – Game Reviews and Objectionably Sardonic Ramblings.

Coping with loss; or, more accurately, how not to.

It was inevitable, I knew it was coming yet, somehow, even though I thought I was completely prepared, I wasn’t. I don’t think anybody can be, even if you lose somebody who you were never that close to. He, my Grandfather that is, had been fighting a losing battle with Alzheimer’s for years and to be honest, he could barely form words and had absolutely no clue who I am. To put it into perspective, he’s been ‘DNR’ for about 3 years. In that sense, I guess, the grandfather I knew and loved was already gone, but I don’t guess that made the final blow any less bitter.

I first found out about the inevitable on Saturday, mid-shift at my part-time job, sister came running teary-eyed, informing me that my parents had to rush off, post-haste, down to Gravesend Hospital where he’d been admitted with ‘respiratory problems’. I feared for the worst, and was immediately allowed home. Mid-walk home, I don’t know how or why, but I just let go. I just let go. I started crying in public, walking down the middle of the road, knowing what would happen.

Here we are, today, 8th December and it has finally come to a head. I guess, you could say it was a relief. I guess you could say it’s a release from pain and suffering but really, is it? Even though he didn’t know my name, or recognise me, he was happy. He seemed happy, and for me, that’s still a life worth living. Is it better to be happy and insane, or unhappy and sane? I’d pick the former any day of the week.

Is it strange that my first thought on hearing the news was not for myself, but two things: how my poor Mother must be feeling, solitarily fighting a losing battle with the social services and co-operation from her siblings and secondly, this blog. I don’t know why, but my first instinct was to write about how I feel. Not to tell my story and receive sympathy, by any means, but perhaps to understand how I feel because, to be honest, I don’t know. I know this probably sounds tenuously cliched but I honestly don’t know how to feel. I wouldn’t call it sadness, but it’s not a million miles away.

The worst part of this though isn’t the fact he died, not by a long shot. But more, his ‘fall from grace’, to articule myself in the most banal way possible. He was a captain of a tug, on the thames, which I understand isn’t the most presitigous job in the world but, captain of his own boat none the less. Then it struck me, age is a terrible curse. We make joke from time to time about how awful the NHS is, how incompetent it is a system but, it’s the best we’ve got which leads me on to ask; by having such a good healthcare system, life expectancy at it’s highest ever, have we actually almost condemned ourselves to inevitable senility and undignified death? From Captain to not being able to unbutton your own fucking shirt, how’s that for a glorious retirement?

I found out he finally died about an hour ago, mid-football match in which I, for the first time ever, scored two headers. This was before I heard the news. 
A sense of bizarre exctasy, brought on by sheer luck of being in the right place, the right time, with the right hat on, to nothing. Just, nothing. And the journey from the astroturf to home, all I could think is the lyrics and the instrumentation of ‘Communist Daughter’ by ‘Neutral Milk Hotel’ which is a beautiful song, I guess I see the trumpets as a sort of, send off and I suggest you listen to it too. 


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