Chapter Twenty-Four – No Time – In Scott’s Eyes
2004 – Mom is 55, I am 30, Julie is 27
It’s been a few months since I got out of the hospital. I’m finally able to move around better, and do some stuff around the house. I’ve been trying to avoid most of the losers I was hanging out with, and Mom and Julie have scared away the rest. I’m really trying to focus on getting better, and having a life. Grandpa is dying. I want to prove to him that I’ll be okay. He got diagnosed with cancer just as I was having my hospital experience, pretty much. I can’t believe this is happening right now. There’s no time left for me to show him I did it, I lost the weight. He’ll be long gone before I ever get to that point, and it crushes me to know that.
Gramps has been the only father I’ve ever known, and Julie’s too, really. After her disappointment with her real dad, she latched on to Gramps even more than before. And she was already really close with him. They bonded over that though, he was there for her. He never really approved of us meeting her father. Never really wanted it to happen. When he called that Christmas, Gramps was pissed off. He told Mom she was crazy for contacting him again. Told her she was making a big mistake. Told her that us kids didn’t need that kind of man in our lives. And he was right, as usual. He’s always had a good sense of people’s character.
I can’t believe he’s dying. I just have to see it myself, but that’s really the last thing I want to do. Julie’s been going over there to take care of him at least three days a week since he got sick. She’s been working a lot too, I don’t know how she does it. Between me, and work, and Gramps, she’s got to be near the breaking point. I just don’t know how she does it. She’s much stronger than I ever gave her credit for, that’s for sure. And I can’t tell you how close we’ve become through my trauma, and all she’s done for me, all she’s forgiven. I wonder if she’s ever gonna be free, be able to do something for herself, and stop taking care of everyone else. More than ever, I want that for her. And now I have more than enough reasons to do what I need to do to get better.
“Scott…” Mom is calling me from the living room. She’s just been on the phone, but I don’t know who she was talking to. I was out in the garage, lifting weights and listening to Aretha. But I can hear in her voice that something’s wrong.
“What’s wrong, Mom?” I’ve made my way out to the living room to see my Mom crying, and shaking, and still absently clutching the phone. “Who were you talking to?”
“That was Julie.” She’s crying, and crying, and crying.
“What happened, is Gramps okay?”
“Well, not really, and either is Julie.”
“Mom, what happened?”
“Not much, really, just Julie had to clean him up tonight. He was in the bathroom and couldn’t do it himself. I guess he made it to his room, and Julie went to help him, knew something was wrong, you know how she is.”
“Oh, God, is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’ll be alright, I just wish I had been there. I wish it was me instead. She’s had enough of that lately, ya know, she doesn’t need this right now.”
“When’s she coming home?”
“I don’t know, she wants to stay. We have to figure out what to do now, he needs special care I think, I don’t know what to do. I just want to rock her, and make it go away for her. I wish I was there instead. My Dad is dying and I’m not there to help him. He can’t even wipe his own ass any more, Julie said that’s what he screamed when he came out of the bathroom. He must be so ashamed, so embarrassed, so defeated. I need my Dad. I need my daughter. I’m just so sorry for them both.”
“God, Mom, I didn’t know he was getting that bad. How long til…?”
“I don’t know, anytime I guess, maybe a couple months, at the most, I don’t know, we’ll just have to see, I don’t know.”
We both went back to our rooms not too much later. I imagined Julie, fighting with Gramps to be able to clean him up. He’s such a proud man, I know it must’ve been tough, on both of them. I can’t believe I’m going to lose him. I can’t even think about it. It’s not real, it just can’t be real. He’s everything to me. He’s taught me so much, been there for me through everything. He’s the most important person in my life, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I don’t want to fail him, or anyone anymore. I don’t want to fail myself. Poor Julie, God this must be hard for her. Just a couple months ago, she was wiping my ass, now Gramps’ too. Poor kid. How can she possibly not break? What is she made of? How are any of us going to make it through this? Gramps is the only person keeping our entire family together. What’s gonna happen to us all?