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Saturday, Nov. 01, 2003 - 3:48 p.m.

So my grandpaís in the hospital, and he might be fine or he might not. I am far away, and it sucks. Iím sad about him, certainly, but even sadder about my mom Ė I hate knowing that sheís so upset. I just feel helpless. And I donít think going out there would help at all, eitherÖIíd just be one more thing for her to worry about. But I feel lame being here, too.

I talked to my mom this morning about my grandpa, our conversation ending with her crying. Then I talked to my dad about the weather and his field work. Thereís no in-between to any of this. Either my grandpa lives and I see him at Christmas, or he dies and I donít see him ever again. Either my mom is crying or my dad is telling me about the lemon tree they just bought.

L and I were invited to go out of town to our friendsí annual oyster roast with their redneck family. I thought we should go, then decided I didnít want to, and I had to call and disappoint L. Itís not like Iíd be sobbing the whole time; itís just that I donít feel like talking to anyone, donít feel like sitting in a car for an hour each way, donít want to talk about my grandpa but donít want to talk about guitars, either. I can make my cat happy by staying home, and I want to make somebody happy right now. Thatís it, I guess: I wish I could be the perfect daughter right now so my mom could be proud of me and have something else to think about besides her father hurting. I wish Iíd never stressed her out in any way, ever. I wish I could call and tell her Iíd quit smoking, gotten a paper accepted to some conference, and was now an accomplished classical guitarist. I wish I could go home and take care of everything instead of be taken care of by her, but I have no idea how to make that happen.

I started thinking about a funeral, and how fucked up it would be. My mom and grandma are so organized and always know what to do. Iíd want to take care of them, to not make them do any work or have to make decisions about stupid details, but my dad and brother and I are all so passive that it would be a disaster. Weíre all used to letting them make the decisions, tell us what to do. God, itís just like that short piece on This American Life last night Ė the passive father letting his wife die because she hadnít told him to call 911. The rest of us canít take care of my mom, now or ever.

So I have forty more papers to grade this weekend. Itís beautiful outside, but when I took a long walk I kept forgetting to enjoy it. Itís all so retarded, this situation. And it doesnít exactly make me eloquent.


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