March 15, 2012
I Told You I Was Not Well
Grandmother and her husband used to fuss about which one was going to die first. Strangest part of that was to win you the argument the one that thought they would die first had won. It was like I have lived harder than you, worked harder and suffered more so I will probably die first. Well he won the argument by dying many years before she did. I could have if I knew what I know now told you he would go first. He was nothing but a total drunk. The worst thing she hated about his death was that he was drunk when he died. She always thought that God would not like that so much. There were lots worse things than being drunk when he died, that God did not like about him I am sure. Unconditional was something I guess my grandmother chose to love us for. Not a bad thing, but sometimes you wonder why people ignore terrible things in the name of love. Forgive and Forget has got to be the explanation. He would drink and say over and over to her, Nell I am sick; I am really am not well. The morning he died in the blue chair, she did not say a word. She put her hand over her mouth, silently gasping. She did this so the four of us that were getting on the bus for school would not know that Grandaddy was dead in the blue chair. I did see her reaction and realized only when they came to school to get us around lunch what that was all about. I did tell my cousin in PE class that something was wrong with him. We were in the fourth grade together, but I seldom really talked to my cousin much at school. That day he listened to what I had to say and was not so surprised when they came from the office to get us. We all four were taken home where the body would arrive the next day in a coffin. It would stay in the house we slept in over night. Dead body in the living room was something that did not settle to well with me. I was and have always been afraid of my own shadow, much less a dead man. My aunt was crazy with the pain of her daddy being dead. I have never before seen anyone cry and scream so much. She was so distraught that she could not sit up straight. I still wonder why? He really was not that nice at all. He didn't do much of nothing. He didn't help anyone. He really cussed way too much when he was sober and really did if he was drunk. He was a dirty old man that chased women around the barn. My aunt may not have known all this, because she really did stay away, because she said she did not like to be around the drinking. He died before AA got to be popular. It started to catch hol't when the next generation, my uncle decided to quit. Now we have all kinds of programs to help people and there are more and more needing the help. In them days Rehab was not even heard of; the 400 ward at ECM was the Rehab of the day then. Uncle Keith was just as bad as his father to say he was not well; I am sick Nell, is the same thing he said. His wife was Nell and his mother was Nell. Crazy people and drunks getting off of a drunk would go to the 400 ward at ECM. That meant you had lost it, when someone said they are in the 400 ward. I was never there to visit; kids were not aloud, but my mama and uncle both were there more than once. I listened very well to adult talk. Today I wonder if we just grabbed up someone and stuck them in the 400 ward at ECM would that help? Is there still such a thing? I need to find that out. I know Riverbend is still there and consider myself lucky that I don't need there services. Maybe I did gather staying sane, by watching all the insane people that surrounded me. I guess I can really say that I am well instead of "I told you I was not well."