Friday, April 17, 2009

Nothing Left But Ashes

My grandmother died last night.

My sweet, wonderful I-hope-I-am-half-the-grandmother-she-is Gramma has passed.

My dad called me late this afternoon to tell me. He was calm. His voice tremored just a bit. He said he called because he had terrible news.

That Gramma had a massive heart attack last night and died. That she wasn't feeling well and told my uncle to call 911 because she was dying. They got her to the hospital. And she died.

Wait a minute, I asked my dad. This was last night?

My uncle, my dad's only brother had just now called my dad. Nearly 24 hours later.

I was absolutely stunned. And then my dad's voice quivered and said that wasn't the worst of it.

My sorry sack of shit uncle? Has already had her cremated.

That's it. It's done. She hasn't even been dead a day, and there's nothing left but ashes.

My dad asked about a service, and his brother told him he could have a service in Georgia, and they would have one in Utah.

My head almost popped off. I know his brother is a crackpot, but this goes beyond any normal, humane behaviour. I am so sick for my father. No goodbye. No closure. No anything.

As my mom has talked to my dad a bit, there are even more awful details. My uncle called my dad to tell him their mother was dead while standing in line at Taco Bell ordering his lunch.

My dad has been trying to reach my grandmother for several days, so when my uncle called today and started telling my dad about issues she's been having with her potassium levels and her medications my dad thought Oh no. She must be in the hospital again.

My uncle talked to my dad for a full ten minutes (while ordering his food) before telling my dad She's dead. She died at 9 o'clock last night.

My dad is now on the phone with my Gramma's only living sister. It is awful enough that she has passed, but our grief has barely had a chance to surface in light of the anger, bitterness and sheer unfairness of how this has been handled. I am proud of my dad for taking up the role of messenger since his brother is too much of an ass.

My husband, mom and I are in agreement that my uncle moved all of my grandmother's bank assets around this morning before he called my father. We'll find out on Monday when my dad flies out. I don't give a damn about the money, not one dime of it. It is the ethics of the situation. To stand in line at some Taco Bell in DesertTown, Utah and treat your mother's death as a by-the-way twenty-four hours after the fact is cruel.

So please, will some of you please light a candle in remembrance of my grandmother? She deserved so much better than this.


andbabybmakesthree said...

OMG, I have to pick up my jaw from the floor after reading this post and absorbing the complete disrespect your uncle has had for his brother and his mother. I'm so sorry he's doing this.

I'm also very sorry about your grandmother's passing. She looks like a lovely woman, and I know she must be very proud of you and the job you're doing raising her great-grandchildren.


Kat said...

My jaw is on the floor too. Your uncle IS a piece of shit. I want to fly there myself and kick his ass.

Beautiful picture of your Grandma.

So sorry for your loss.

Chris Albinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet grandmother. I will light a candle for her.

You are lucky to have had such a great role model so that you could learn by example and know how to be a wonderful grandma yourself.

tysdaddy said...

Candle . . . lit.

And this just sucks.

My grandfather passed away over just before Easter weekend, and even with all the familial strife, all the talk and bottled up resentment, nothing so disturbing occurred.

My heart goes out to you, my friend.

Krishanna said...

Aww shit, Natui. I'm sorry, hon. Many hugs, k.

Caffeinatrix said...

OMG..I'm so sorry you and your family have had to endure such cruelty at the hands of your uncle. Clearly, he has issues but that's no excuse for such abominable behavior. I have found time and again that the death of a loved one can bring out the absolute worst in people, although he sounds like he was already a complete ass. Again, I'm sorry. I will say a prayer for your Grandma and your family.

buddha_girl said...

Consider it done.

I hate your uncle. Everyone has at least one asinine fuck in the family. I hope he orders lunch at Taco Bell this week and chokes to death on it while people calmly watch.

Arizaphale said...

So sorry for your loss. And your Uncle needs a good smack about the head. The loss of someone close is tough enough without this kind of shit to deal with....

Caroline67 said...

What a stunning woman. I am sure you inherited some element of your strength from her, and you will use that to ensure that her legacy, both material and spiritual, is not abused by that man. Good luck and all my condolences.

A Free Man said...

Sorry for your loss and also for your family's trouble. It isn't right. Hope things get resolved.

Avitable said...

I missed this post. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, especially given the circumstances surrounding it.

If your dad had trouble reaching for her for several days, I wonder if there's a chance she actually passed away earlier and your uncle is somehow lying to you?

At any rate, please accept my condolences.

SSG said...

Sorry for the loss of your grandmother, and your Uncle's behaviour. Gees.

Joe said...

It affects me when I hear about someone I don't know passing. I'm having a very difficult time trying to understand how someone's own mother could die and not really be affected by it. I'm sorry for your loss, and ten times more for your father.

RiverPoet said...

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

When I talked to you this afternoon, no, I hadn't read this. I've been melting down almost daily, and you caught me at the tail end of one of them.

Your uncle is a certifiable asshole. There is no other way to put it. They warn us in training for this field that people are at their WORST when a death is involved. That we can expect to be in the middle of family dramas.

Honey, I'm so sorry you and your father have to deal with such nonsense. I will light a candle for your Gramma. I'm so sorry....

Love you - D

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Christ. What a great friend I am. I'm so behind in reading blogs. I am so very, very, very sorry for your loss.

And I'm so very, very, very sorry for your uncle when I get my hands on him and plant my foot up his ass.

I love you, hon. I'll give you a call tomorrow.

Gypsy said...

That's terrible. I'm so sorry.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@babymakesthree: It's the disrespect that really got to me.

@Kat: I think a lot of us ended up with broken jaws on this one.

@ChrisA: Thank you so much. She did indeed give me such a great role model to follow as a grandmother.

@Deb: Thank you for the candle. Knowing so many of you lit them helped me tremendously these past few days.

@tysdaddy: I am so sorry about your grandfather. I hope you have been able to find some peace.

@Krishanna: Hugs, to you too girl.

@Caffinatrix: Sadly, his behaviour has always been erratic. I don't know why this surprised me.

@BuddhaGirl: Thanks for the laugh!

@Arizaphale: I indeed wish I could have smacked him.

@Caroline67: Thank you for your kind words. The abuse part is sadly not over.

@AFM: Thanks man.

@Avitable: You hit the nail on the head. We spent several days pondering this possibility. That's why it was so important for me to track down which hospital she went to.

@SSG: Thank you.

@Joe: Your question is the same we've been asking ourselves. It is unfathomable.

@RiverPoet: I know you hadn't read, but please don't apologize. You are going through such a hard time right now. I just appreciate that you called me back so quickly. It really meant a lot.

@CMGD: Read my blog has no bearing on our friendship. Not yet anyway. :) Don't worry one bit about it.

@Gypsy: Thanks for stopping by, hon. I know your life is hell right now, too.

Patois said...

I'm so very sorry. I am obviously just learning of this, so my prayers will only start now. How horrible for all of you. She deserved better. I am sure she has it now.

Geek Mom said...

Im just now seeing this. I am so soo sorry. You all are in my thoughts and prayers..

Anonymous said...

I am very sympathetic to your story. My grandmother was just diagnosed with cancer and I have family members who have snuck into (read: broken into) her house while she was at chemo to steal her pain meds, stolen her jewelry, taken money out of her bank account, and asked if they can have certain items of hers/my late grandpa's "when she's gone." It's that someone who is such a good person deserves better.

I am very sorry that you lost your grandmom. I'm glad you'll have a chance to say goodbye. Try to imagine your asshat relatives have good motives deep down. That's all I can do.

Blues said...

Wow, I'm really sorry your family is going through this. My condolences.

Becki said...

I know this post is some weeks old, but I've just found your blog, and I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you and your father had to go through this. Others have expressed better than I the shock and chagrin at reading this account, so I won't go into that. I will say what people of my religion say when someone beloved passes on: May her memory be eternal.