(This is a guest post.)
It was finally over. The trips to the emergency room, the consults with doctors, the refusals to drink water were over. The teary phone calls from Mom at all hours, the ones about how mean and feeble he was, were over too.
He had always been mean, actually. He became feeble. After surviving two wars, several automobile accidents and the scorn of all the women he had treated callously, he finally succumbed to loss of organ function and creeping dementia.
He had spent the last two years wandering around my Mom’s split-level ranch, looking out at the beautiful views of the Texas hill country and gazing death in its expressionless face with increasingly non-lucid eyes. And now he was lying dead in front of me and his eyes wouldn’t stay closed.
I tried to press them closed. The nurse gave me a look.
He had requested – prior to the surgery he insisted on, despite having basically no chance of surviving it – to be dressed in the event of his death. We already had his pants on, and a white dress shirt, a tie, wool socks, gloves, a sweater, and a hat.
We were putting on his shoes.
“I think he’s wearing my pants.”
Phillip was the only grandchild still living in Texas. I had flown in because it was the first Christmas since my sister’s death. And grandpa happened to die.
And now here he was, our grandfather, who had neither a charitable nor good-natured bone in his body, and he was having one final, posthumous, perhaps cosmic, laugh. It was his final dick move – he had stolen Phillip’s pants and then selected to be dressed in them after his death. Phillip’s new pants would be cremated on Grandpa.
Of course this was his last act.
And of course, standing there next to Phillip, staring at Grandpa’s body, all I could think to say was,
“Well… if you want them back… this is your chance. He’s not going to put up much of a fight.”
Phillip and I looked at each other and laughed.