The unfulfilled promise - 14 May 2009

Angry thoughts about the death of my polish grandfather.

Planning is useless.

It was a scene that, in another context, like in an American sitcom, someone would have found hilarious.

My mobile rings late at night, as I'm sitting in the toilet for my usual "one-before-night" duty.
I'm reading an article about Morgan Tsvangiari, the PM of Zimbabwe. It's Thursday and this is the Sunday paper, so after reading anything else (I hate re-reading the same articles) I moved to the politics pages.

I think I can ignore it. But it keeps ringing, so it must be someone who's desperate to talk to me. With my pants down my ankles, paper in the left hand, I reach the phone bunny-jumping.
Lindsey is already in bed, taking care of our injured dogs, and she hears me shouting something in Italian.
She runs on the opposite side of the house and this is what she sees: her husband with pants down the ankles, the bottom part of his body naked, holding a paper with a picture of a black man and with the phone in his hand.

At this particular moment, a laughing track would have been ideal.

- What's going on? Asks Lindsey
- My grandpa died, I answer, while I try to pick up my pants and still try to keep the conversation going with my mother.

And two moments later, the laughing track disappears.

My grandfather died. In Poland. 10000km from here. I need a moment.

Lindsey sits at the computer that I just started up (there are many Skype calls to make it to organize my family from here) and I sit on the toilet. One last push and I'm done for the night. I try to finish that article, but it gives me no relief. I try to cry a little, but I'm just upset. My grandfather died and all I want to do is clean by bum, and go to sleep.

Lindsey goes back to bed. I stay up a little longer, in the darkness of the kitchen. I make myself some tea (with too much lemon) and then I think. I'm quite upset.

You see, what pisses me off about death is that is so final. I don't care if I'll meet anyone again in heaven or whatever version of the afterlife is out there (plus, I don't want to be happy for an eternity, it would get boring, and there are many people up there that I don't want to spend my eternity with, so I would settle down happily for a purgatory-styled afterlife, is such things exist, I'd rather climb up/down the ladder, Dante got it right ).

As soon as someone dies, especially someone that you were supposed to visit last year and couldn't because suddenly chickenpox decided that it was your time , a series of regrets start to build up and, mixed with anger, everything seems so fucking unfair.

When was the last time I visited my grandparents? It was in April 2007 , when I decided that I would disappear for few days to not celebrate my 30th birthday.
I spent only 3-4 days there, I was still living in London, Rob left London and so Lindsey, after I proposed to her, to go back to South Africa waiting for me to come over. It was for Kasia's (Dominik's sister), wedding.

Since then, only phone calls with promises that I would come back and I would bring my beautiful wife with me. It almost happened, last year. But, as I said, I got chickenpox and I couldn't fly. How shit is that? It was almost happening this year, I was still trying to plan a trip with my wife either in July or December to Poznan, so I could finally fulfil my promise.

My granddad has been sick for a long period. I don't even recall the last time I spoke with him at the phone. Every Sunday my granny would answer and she would tell me that Dziadek (polish for Grandpa) is too tired to speak or he's sleeping. If he was up, I know what he would have asked me: did you play football? Did you win? Did you score? AC Milan won last week, well done. Italy won last week, well done. AC Milan lost, don't worry. Italy lost, don't worry, you can't win them all.

He would hang on life just so he could finally see me and Lindsey, after all those hundreds pictures my mum never failed to send.

So yes, it feels like shit.

I blame my stupid laziness for a postcard that I was supposed to send in April, from Cape Town, and I remembered to send it only 5 days ago. My granddad will never get it, and my Granma will see her husband’s name on it. How lame is that?

I will miss him, simply because for me, going to Poland, was going to see them and my friends (who luckily are mostly alive). I will miss his snore. I will miss his obsession with marking all the shows he wants to watch on the satellite with a blue marker. I will miss seeing him together with my grandma every time I had to leave.
They still have each other, after all, I thought.
I've missed his cooking in a long time (since he got sick, 5 years ago, he stopped cooking) and I will never try again the ice cream he used to make. And I will never forget all the sacrifices that my grandma and he made in the 80's, to allow two spoilt Italian kids to enjoy decent food when everywhere else people were just easting the essential.

I guess he probably went to heaven, where all good people should go and finally found an answer to the dilemma of the afterlife. But I don't care.
If he's not there, keeping company to my grandmother, what's the point of it?

Yes, it feels like shit. And I don't even know how old he was.

I know it will pass, but today just let me be upset.