Friday, April 25, 2008

the end. (or: csi miami comes to the atlantic cloisters)

mom and uncle michael will eventually get down to grampa's apartment to do what they gotta do with the car, his clothes, and all that stuff, but earlier this week i was the the marines, only solo.

i went into his condo to retrieve some important papers, cash, jewelry, his wallet, clean out the perishables in the fridge, listen to the answering machine, forward the phone, and sit for a while with everything sammy, except sammy.

when you get up one day, go about your business, and then just sit down and finish living, everything stays exactly how you left it, frozen in time.

i found his cup of coffee from that morning, unfinished...the rest of the small pot he made for himself was burnt down to the bottom of the carafe, still hot since it was never turned off.

his bed was neat, except for the triangle-fold in the blanket he made when he moved the covers to get up that morning.

his water-shoes were in the living room, probably removed by e.m.s., because the police told us he was still wearing them when they found him in his ez-chair.

on his desk was a sealed, addressed, stamped card to uncle jerry, ready to go in the mail for jerry's april 21st birthday. grampa was always on-time with birthday cards, in the tradition of grandma audrey, so i am sure he was planning on mailing it at just the right time.

the fridge was easy to clean out; nothing too spoiled to freak me out (i have a big, irrational fear of spoiled dairy products. somehow, these days, milk seems to last forever. especially that "skim plus" brand that has a shelf life like uranium. (how do they do that?)).

here's the csi part: i had several david caruso moments. you know...snooping around in a miami condo where someone just died. trying not to move anything too out-of-place except the things the family needed for his estate and final affairs. ok, so it wasn't a crime scene, and it didn't matter if i moved stuff around and got fingerprints everywhere, and it was my grampa, but there was a dead guy in there just a few days before. and i was in florida. so let me have my fantasy.

some of my detective work:
  1. sammy recently filled up his stock of oreo cookies. the tupperware in the fridge was filled to the top. i ate a few. ok, david caruso would never eat the oreos.
  2. he had his usual cereal breakfast that morning and cleaned the bowl and spoon like he always does (aren't i a genius?)
  3. possible cause of death: nothin' left to do. check out the image below. excuse the pun, but it could be a "dead giveaway" -- grampa would make lists of the important things he needed to do every day. i think he did this partially for the sake of making lists and keeping busy, and partly because when you're 91 you probably forget stuff...anyway, look closely at the list and look at friday. it's empty. he died thursday. so: maybe he sat down, looked at the list, saw that he didn't have anything left to do, and decided that this was a good as time as any to close his eyes for the last time. i can just see caruso hunching over, head low, peering at that milfy-blonde sidekick over the top of those cheap sunglasses, and murmuring some shitty dialog about the empty list.

the list


Anonymous said...

I'm reading this on Sunday night 10:14, 4/27, tears are streaming down my face. Jono, I love you. I love your detailing all this, I love your wit, I love your love for your grandpa. Thanks for being you.

Binza said...

hear hear. thanks for sharing. i remember when i went to collect my brother's items from his place in virginia, it was pretty sad. to be in the space where he'd lived but was no longer. seeing the things he left behind and items i remember from our youth. it was sad, but cathartic.