Gold Pocket Watch

Prompts and Challenges

Watch-“I’m very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch.” ~ Woody Allen

My two week self-imposed period of mourning has made me realize several things. One, I miss my grandfather. Two, posting to my blog is something I can stop at a moment’s notice. Three, I missed posting. And four, I missed being a 13 year old trapped in an adult’s body. Death is serious business, I understand. But who, really, wants to be serious? Or an adult? I have had to deal with nursing homes and creditors and banks and morticians and real estate agents and the Salvation Army and the VA and social workers and lawyers and I’m sure there are several other groups of people I am forgetting. I wish I could forget them all. Did I use the past tense? Sorry. I am still dealing with them. And getting stressed out. Good thing my wife has been helpful in dealing with more than half of them or I would have pulled my hair out long before this.

I wanted everyone who sent their condolences to me and my family to understand how much that meant. When I was a child I had an imaginary friend who was the kindest, warmest, most caring pal I could conceive of. But he never could equal what I have felt here, in this strange community of friends. Imaginary or otherwise. Later in life, my imaginary friend somehow morphed into a young, scantily clad woman who was …, well, best not to go into that here. This was to be a remembrance, an appreciation, of a life. And I did appreciate my grandfather. Through my father and him, I acquired my own twisted sense of humor that, even now, I can not suppress. There have been tears aplenty in the last few months and weeks and days of my grandfather’s life. But there has been laughter, too. And I will always remember the nurse who stood at his bed with me and stroked his arm as if he had been her life long friend.

He was not a great man. How many really are? But he fought in World War II and received a purple heart (for which he received $133 in VA benefits per month for the last 70 or so years). He was a man of few words who loved his wife so dearly that he had little time for his son and daughter. But, truth be told, he was also busy with giving all 3 of them as large a portion he could manage of the American dream. He told me stories of how, when he was younger, he would smoke, and drink, and gamble. Sometimes all at once. But he quit the cigars, the cigarettes, the beers and the Four Roses whiskey, all cold turkey. He never did give up the gambling, though, and I used to drive him to his local casino once or twice a month to play Keno (a variation of  Bingo, as far as I could tell). After my grandmother, his wife, died in 2001, he sold their 3 bedroom home and moved into a single wide trailer in a senior’s mobile home park. He became very misanthropic, hating everyone. When it was time to give up his driver’s license (at the age of 90) he never ventured out of his house except for when I would come by twice a week to take him shopping or to his doctor’s appointments.

This is not turning out to be quite the celebration I thought it would be. But I do miss him. He worked until the age of 89 as a crossing guard and gave a jacket to a young kid one day when the kid came to school shivering because the family couldn’t afford a winter coat. Another time, he suffered a black eye and cut lip when, with one swift fist to the side of his face, he was knocked to the ground by an angry bicyclist who was berating a woman driver.

He was the kindest, warmest, most caring person I will ever have the good fortune to know. He was also irascible, cantankerous, judgmental, and sometimes very frustrating.

But he was my grandfather!

Heart-Please visit MightWar and read her post A Farewell to The Giant which has nothing to do with the death of my grandfather except that it is a very well written and heartfelt post that made me wish I had known her father!

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55 thoughts on “Gold Pocket Watch

  1. Oh, I’m so happy to see you back on here just so I can send you a hug and tell you we’ve been thinking of you and hoping that you’re surrounded by warm memories and caring people and that things will feel better and you will adjust to this. You’ll never get over it, but you will go on because he’d want you to go on and you’ll live and you’ll be happy and you’ll know all that is also part of him too! Take care, Emilio!

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  2. Emilio I got teary, I laughed and most of all my heart aches for your loss. Sharing the stories of your Grandfather makes me feel as if I knew him. When you wrote of nurse touching his arm I wanted to hug her for those of us who have the honor of giving comfort should indeed do so. We send our sympathy, our strength and warmest thoughts as you wade through the chaos of details. Hugs from Dave and I.

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  3. A moving post Emilio and it is good to have your sense of humour back in my reader. A nice honest portrait of your grandfather. Good luck with all the hassles of sorting out all the lawyers, creditors and bankers etc.

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    1. Thanks, Raewyn. Just got off the phone with the rehab facility looking for $6,000. At least they said “sorry for your loss” before hitting me with a bill. And the reason they’re coming for me and not for my father is that they had my name in their records. But neither of us is liable for his debts as there was no will. Well, no original that we know of, anyway. It’s a long story and I’d rather not turn my blog into an ongoing diatribe against the medical profession or my experiences with them. So, after this post, I refuse to dwell on it anymore. So, thank you again for caring! It really means a lot!

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  4. Its great to see you posting again Emilio and what a great heart felt article this is. Hopefully everything will go a little smoother for you with the lawyers creditors and bankers.

    Now about that young scantily clad woman … 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Joe. Check out my response to Raewyn, above. Maybe that scantily clad woman is now a lawyer who can help me out? The lawyer I do have told me to just walk away from everything. But somehow that just sounds wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do yourself a favor Emilio, walk away no matter how wrong it sounds. If the situation was reversed and the rehab facility owed you money I don’t think they would think about what was right and wrong.

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  5. Great to see you back Emilio and such a beautifully written and heartfelt post. We’ve missed you and your great sense of humour. Good luck to you and Mrs P with sorting everything out.

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    1. Thanks, Katie. I think Mrs. P actually got the easy part. She’s dealing with packing up the contents and selling the furniture online. She’s been getting weird calls at all hours. But, then, so am I!

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    1. Thank you, Patti. He lived a varied life, that’s for sure. When my grandmother died, he became very reclusive- which is a trait of our family. That’s is why I am very happy to have found my wife, a woman who understands my devotion to her and to photography! What could be better?

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  6. Dealing with all the stuff after a death, is sometimes harder than the death itself. In a different way of course. I’m glad you’re back, and I’m glad that this community of invisible friends help each other out.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. Dealing with everything afterwards is different, if not harder. You are emotionally drained at the same time as you are trying to deal with it all. I hope when I go, I leave nothing but a good looking corpse. (I know someone said that, I just don’t remember who.)

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  7. Welcome back!
    And you’re back with a bang – it was a great post: reverent and irreverent all in one. If we have your grandfather to thank for your sense of humour then he was a fine man.
    Take care!

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    1. Well, thank you, Debbie. I think the main difference between his humor and mine is that he was pretty sarcastic, which I found early on to be sometimes hurtful without meaning to be. I had to make a conscious decision not to be sarcastic or hurt by him. He once said to me- meaning to be funny- “what happened to you? You used to be a good looking kid!” It was at a particularly sensitive time in my life.

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  8. Emilio, this is a heartfelt post, full of honesty, love, and pain. Thank you for sharing part of your grandfather with us. He was indeed a great man, if for no other reason than that he gave a coat to a shivering child.
    Thoughts have been with you, even though I too, have been away from the blog.
    Take care and strength to you as you continue to process the loss and the tasks associated with losing a loved one.

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    1. Laurie, thank you for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. I think anyone who is lucky enough to have someone like you in office caring for them is going to be one lucky constituent. Just don’t take any money or favors from deep pockets!

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  9. Emilio, I can only imagine what an emotional and sad time it has been for you for the past few months. It’s so hard to see a dear person go. But the sadness and pain always grows into a wonderful feeling of gratitude…
    What a lovely post you’ve written, so full of life!
    Sending you and your family strength! So glad to see you and your great sense of humor back! 🙂

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  10. an unsentimental yet beautiful and honest look at another human being who happened to be your grandpa!! I feel the love and admiration between the lines and not between the lines.He had a large personality! You will miss him! Blessings!!

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        1. I wasn’t offended, if that’s what it sounded like. I’m usually embarrassed myself with the tears or getting choked up at emotional moments. You should have seen me trying to say my vows when we got married!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Emilio, I loved reading your heartfelt tribute to your grandfather. I’m sure you’re really going to miss him and his wonderful sense of humour. The Purple Heart is such an honour. He sounds like he was a real mensch. My condolences to you and the family. Sylvia

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  12. Outliving ones generation is not necessarily something to celebrate. It gets very lonely. George Burns, as he approached his century, had a lot to say about it. All his friends and his belove wife were gone. Bette White talks about this, too. It is hard to find oneself with no one who remembers the way it was, or when you were young.

    That is a beautiful watch. I have a couple like that, but they need repair and no one seems to know how to fix them anymore.

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    1. He outlived his wife and I’m surev that was difficult for him, they were so devoted! As for the watch, I never even tried it to see if it still works. It’s on a shelf in our living room.

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  13. Emilio, your post is exactly a celebration of your grandfather’s life. The love you felt for him, warts and all, just jumps off the page and warms my heart. I hope we are all lucky enough to have “Emilios” to care for us in our waning years.

    Now, as for pulling out that hair of yours? Umm, I think that ship sailed long ago.

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  14. It seems your grandfather had all the necessary qualities to get by in this life. He sounds like he was loving and caring and tough and brave. You celebrated him just fine. As a friend of mine says it appears you saw him with your heart and not with your eyes.

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  15. You’ve been in my thoughts since I found out about your loss. I thought this was a touching tribute to your grandfather. He may not have been perfect (who is?) but of course you love him dearly and that came through in your words. I’m sorry I’m so late in getting to this… life has been rather sucky and I’m having to accept that if I’m 2 weeks behind I’m doing alright. I am glad your wife is able to help you and I hope your deep sense of loss will gradually turn into something that doesn’t hurt quite as much.

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    1. I wish I was only two weeks behind. Your life might be sucky but I’m happy to see you’re still living it! Lynn and I have been going through everything of my grandfather’s and selling stuff online. Salvation Army is coming by Monday to pick up whatever’s left over and then we will list the property for sale. At the same time I’m trying to work and post. We were going to go out tonight to take some night shots but were too tired. Maybe tomorrow. Your life won’t be sucky forever. Just believe that!

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      1. Hmmm… “life won’t be sucky forever”… i might make that my new motto. It’s a little more encouraging than “life sucks, and then you die” which has come to mind often 🙂 You have a lot going on right now. I hope you are up to going out to take photos soon. I think that will give you some sense of normal.

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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