Here in south Alabama where I've been since Tuesday night, my sense of security that All Will Be Well Because I'm Packing An iPhone And Everett Watson Is My Granddaddy has been turned on its ear. Not only is the idea of liberally-available WiFi connectivity and an everpresent 3G signal something I can count on as I move from place to place a joke, many times, even getting a single bar on the Edge network is no longer something I count on. And my Granddaddy is no longer the man who confidently declares "C'mon baby. I'll take you, if you wanna' go," as he grabs his keys and walks out the door ahead of you, confident that you're on his heels.
My clients are lovely and glorious. And some of the most patient people I've ever encountered. So they wait for work that they'd expected to be completed before now. And if they weren't so agreeable? I'd still be right where I am, confident that my obligations will nonetheless work themselves out when I've returned to my normal life more typical rhythms.
As I was wrapping up my stay with my parents, last week, following Mom's triple bypass surgery, and the idea to fly to Pensacola, so that a then-undetermined relative could meet me there and drive the hour and half to be with my Granddaddy hit me, I knew I should buy a ticket. When fully-formed ideas arrive as forcefully as that one did and the timing could not be worse? Well, you know that's exactly when you need to pay attention to them.
This is the first time I've spent with this part of my family since we lost my cousin. His non-presence is everywhere, and the permanent reality that he is not is intertwined with the complex details related to the Finally Sinking In acceptance that as he approaches 91, my Granddaddy isn't going to wake up one morning next week and suddenly be the vital, independant man we'd grown so accustomed to all these years. The man he would prefer to be, if it's all the same to you.
As a granddaughter, I'm not directly involved in the long-term, day-to-day details of the Evolving New Plan. Yet my presence - and perspective - seem not only welcomed, but desired, here. And so I put aside thoughts of Squarespace and Photoshop and PayPal and Twitter. Days into this visit, I even postpone questions over whether I will or will not have a running 20 year old Toyota when I return, whether or not I will be buying a magnificent, old truck to "replace" my faithful travel companion, whether or not I will spend September in Seattle. I also haven't yet paid the registration fee for an upcoming conference I want to attend after the possible trip to Seattle and don't know if it's just irony or something bigger at play, aware as I am that the main day of the conference will be held on Granddaddy's next birthday.
Instead of leaving town today as planned, I've rescheduled my return trip to Greensboro for Monday evening. Granddaddy spent last night in the hospital, my Dad was there with him, after a mostly-impromptu drive down here instead of in the other direction as planned, and it sounds like he'll spend the night there again tonight. The details of why are rather mundane and ordinary, still layered with unpredictability and question marks. Monday may not be a better day to leave, either, but it's the most solid decision I could make last night before heading up to my room. The one at the end of the hall that slept adult pairs when I was a child, only children during summers when our parents weren't around.
This is home and this is far from home and today it's exactly where I want to be.