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Jefferson Davis Sailors (1912-2003) - nil.enroll(aetheric_username, quantum_class_id)
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Jefferson Davis Sailors (1912-2003)
Although kind to small children and dogs, Jeff was a mean and bigoted bully to most every one else. He is in part responsible for the various psychoses of his children, and is blamed for his wife's early death, sixteen or so years ahead of him.

When I was old enough to understand what sort of person he was, and understand the meaning of some of the stories, and to hear how he mistreated and threatened the staff at the nursing home (They took away his gun after he began waving it at the help), I was too old for him to give me candy and money (spontaneously, on every visit) anymore. Somewhere around then he took a bad fall, and, although he got back on his feet again some time after, he was never really mobile again. That must have been around the same time he was finally cajoled into not driving, and I ended up driving his car. He moved from assisted living to personal care, and after a trip to the hospital, to a nursing home. Last week or so, he went back to the hospital, but respecting the directives, after stabilizing him, he was transferred to a hospice room, where he died Saturday morning sometime around 9 AM.

On the positive side, he worked for fourty some odd years on the railroad before retiring, and was an accomplished carpenter besides. He built the house he lived in, and the one across the street from it, as well as a lamp and some other odds and ends. His stinginess throughout his life resulted in substantial savings, which my college expenses, the truck (which replaced his car) and his medical/living expenses have (AFAIK) all but drained. It would seem I owe him some gratitude for all of that.

In recent years as his health waxed and waned, my bitterness towards him faded somewhat, and I began to pity him, existing in such a state. I could not and do not believe that a man so energetic and well, alive, in life, would have wanted to live in a bed, or stumble around with a walker, and I became more bitter about his being kept "alive" than at his acts in life. His passing was long overdue, but I am glad he finally got to go, and that he had some peace and dignity, which all sentient beings should have at death, just as they should also be able to choose the time, place, and nature of it. Now we just have to get his relatives through it (They seem ill prepared, despite ... how unsurprising it all was).

The "visitation" was yesterday. It was sort of like a wake with no food and drink, but at a funeral home decorated in late Addams' Family, except that half the people in the room are relatives and half are (seemingly) complete strangers of various tenuous links. Today is the "memorial service", the graveside bit, and the ... family dinner (reception?).
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Comments
not_hothead_yet From: not_hothead_yet Date: February 10th, 2003 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice eulogy. I like your honesty (of course) and I'll be thinking of you with the hope that you can get through the whole "relative" thing without wanting to add another body to the grave. I dread any more deaths in my paternal family, mostly because I just dread the idea of having to deal with all those "relative" people during bizarre emotional times.

From: liquidbob Date: February 10th, 2003 11:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey Ben,

Just wanted to express my condolences for the loss of your grandfather. I was rather distant and didn't feel a lot when my grandfather died, and I thought it was because I wasn't really a part of his life. But it was later on that I realized that I was a bigger pert of his life than he was mine (as the young are apt to do). Anyway, I hope that you can set aside the things he did wrong and his last few years for the sake of his good qualities. We find it all to easy to write people off for the bad things about them and then feel free to ignore any good they do, but while we all make mistakes and sometimes many of them, there are few of us who can't at some point be good. Since humans in general don't learn from others' mistakes ("But this is different..."), I think it's (generally) better to remember the good things about those who die, maybe even more so with relatives (usually harder to escape the others who knew them).

Just a couple thoughts...
pinkeffigy From: pinkeffigy Date: February 10th, 2003 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

hi

Having met once your grandfather at some gathering or another, and hearing more about him than was observable at that point, I am glad you found something about him you could appreciate. I still haven't found that about my mother's father. My sympathies to you and your family.
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