Tuesday, April 20, 2010
End of an Era and Yesterday's Garbage
Today is the beginning of the end.
As I drove in this morning, I started the last leg of my commute to work. My last Tuesday here. It would have been Monday oddly enough if it weren't a Boston holiday and the masses (mild pun intended) weren't off to celebrate Patriot's Day/Marathon Monday.
I came in a little later, since it's also a school vacation week and my boss won't even be here for my final week. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the Southeast Expressway, ranked 14 worst for commuter traffic in the country. I should be a little happy to not have to sit idle in my car, playing merge and dart with carious other vehicles also trying their damndest while only mildly caffeinated to get into work at a reasonable hour in the morning, but I am saddened.
And so I started to sort through my belongings. The stuff I have all over my desk that makes it a little more personal. Photos of Dylan, pictures he drew me. A pair of glasses that had been lost that I taped eyes inside to resemble the Geico commercial "Somebody's Watching You".
This entire weekend has been ends of era's as it were. My 2 years here are no different. I love my job, and am sad to leave. The people I work with have been wonderful to me, and they too wish I were able to stay. Of course, if it weren't for corporate red-tape and policies sent down from offices afar, I likely would be, but alas, that is clearly not how the new Corporate America operates.
It's mind boggling the detachment that exists. A single mom now jobless, searching for a way to support her child. Working with 4 staffing and placement agencies, using every online tool in existence to find new employment to no avail. Tossed aside, all business. Cold and calculated.
And this weekend, another detachment was witnessed that made me sadder still. The only grandfather I have ever known, my neighbor my entire life, who's blood and mine are not the same, but he is family nonetheless. A man who I would go to the ends of the Earth for, is now in assisted living. His home of over 60 years, a home I grew up in essentially, is being picked apart by his biological children and things are being thrown away so callously. His lifetime of memories and hard work, nostalgia tossed into dumpsters like garbage.
I did my best for stays of execution. Tried to save what I could. Me, being the sentimentalist. I could save it all if I could. Archive it in some sort of Grandparental Mausoleum if I could. My own memorabilia placed exactly had it been in the home that was my second one for as long as I can remember.
I recalled every story I had of that house, of the contents. Of my grandfather (and you will NEVER hear me refer to him as anything but) and the things we did. Of his antiques, of his garden. Of watching him build his model ships every day after school, or listening to the stories of him being a professor at Northeastern University.
Stories of surviving the Great Depression. The wars. Countless sessions of him correcting my grammar as I spoke. Making iced tea on the stove with my grandmother before she passed so many years ago. Planting flowers in the yard and listening to Big Band music.
I was there every day as a child. The slight incline on their side yard, a HUGE hill we would sled down in the cold New England winter's when covered in snow. Riding in his 1930 Model A Ford in parades around town, reveling in all the other kid's jealousy as we whizzed by them.
And his son's, just tossing out his life. Thrown away like yesterday's garbage. Not wanting to be daunted by his stuff, by his memories. Completely detached and complacent. It sickened me they could do such things while he was still alive. He, being kept away like a prisoner surrounded by people ready to die, people who have given up. I get the methodology of it, but it hurts nonetheless.
He hasn't given up, he is 91 years old and still fighting. He is in fair health and perfect mental clarity. It makes me so upset to hear him so downtrodden about leaving his home, his life. To know the disappointment he feels in his children about the handling of his things, to hear it in his voice, defeated. All that the man has left.
His closest friends are dropping like flies, as they do when you reach 91. He only recently stopped driving, and only because he was ill, not because he could no longer do so. He is no longer close to his friends, to all that has been familiar to him his entire life. The place they put him is near to them, and he hates it.
He didn't want to be a burden. It angers me. The man has never been a burden in his life. Has never once put himself first. He spent his boys youth working his ass off, and yes maybe they resent him for not being there, for not being that "I'll play catch with you son" dad, but times were different back then. He loves his family, and I am blessed to be a part of it.
I know that losing my job of 2 years is nothing like losing your home of over 60 years, but I feel like he's lost. I know that I am. I am lost and I am scared. I don't know what's next, I don't know where the road will take me, what I am going to do. I can only imagine that my grandfather, in his solitude an hour away from all he has ever known is far more lost than I.
It's the end of an era, and I think it’s happening too soon.