Friday, January 25, 2008


This afternoon the doctors are going to take my grandmother off life support and let her peacefully pass away. I am not courageous enough to be there when it happens and I have asked to not be notified of the exact moment of her passing- I will go home tomorrow and help my father with the arrangements but I lack the emotional fortitude needed for a hospital death watch . I resent my weakness but I can't feign strength I don't have. I am going to need strength later and if I am present at her death I fear I may be absent in the days and weeks after.I am afraid I will break.

I'm writing this and I can't help wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I don't know what the right thing is. Is there one? Perhaps this isn't a healthy avenue of thought. Maybe I should talk a walk. Where are my shoes? I'm looking.

The phone rings. Caller ID tells me it's a cell phone that I don't recognize. I answer on the second ring. An unfamiliar male voice asks for me by my full name. Briefly, I hope it's for a job, but deep down I know it's about my Grandma.

"Yes", I answer, "this is he."

"Are you the DJ that does the Local Show tomorrow night?"

"No", I tell him, " I have had a death in the family and I won't be on the air this weekend."
Dude, I think , this is your cue to say good-bye.

Dude doesn't take his cue.

"Well", he goes on, " who is the DJ tomorrow and how can I get in touch with them?"

The DJ in question is a long-time friend of mine and I like her too much to inflict this wiper on her- what is Dude thinking? That I will give him her phone number?
I go into 'interference' mode.

"What is this about?", I ask,"I am the Program Director for the show, you can ask me any questions you might have."
Civil, so far.

"Well, it's about the show."

"Yes. I gathered that. What specifically can I help you with?"
Almost exploding. Hold it in.

"Well, it's about my friend."
Then he stops, forcing me to ask him questions.

"Your friend?"

"She is a musician."
More silence.

"And?", I prod.

"And a singer. She is a great singer.She has played two gigs at coffeehouse X."

"No", I respond coldly, "I meant 'and' as in 'what is your point?' "

"Well...I want her to be on the radio tomorrow night. Can you do that?"

I explain that when I book an artist, I try to do it at least 30 days in advance and with the consent of whichever DJ I have scheduled, that the proper thing to do is to have the artist contact me via my station email and not my home phone (big thanks to my buddy X for giving out my home phone against my wishes- you are now on my permanent shitlist.)

Two coffeehouse open-mic nights aren't going to open a lot of doors, but I don't mention's all I can do to keep from launching a tirade of invective at Dude. Why doesn't he get off the phone?

Dude gets worse: "Well...on the off-chance that you can't get her on tomorrow, maybe you could have her on next week."

"Look, there is no off-chance for tomorrow. Tomorrow is out of the question. Period. Send me an email, a CD and a press kit and I will be in touch within 68 weeks."

"Well...she has another coffeehouse show and I want her to be on the radio before then..."

Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off.
It's a good thing that you haven't taken the time to introduce yourself or the artist you are pimping because if I knew your names I'd make sure to avoid you both. I'd make it my business to purge our airwaves of any trace of you and her.

"Look. I'm waiting for an important phone call. I need to go."

" tomorrow out, then? I want her to be on the radio tomorrow."

"Tomorrow is still out. Nothing has changed in the last 30 seconds. Goodbye."




I lied to Dude. A lot has changed in the last 30 seconds.


yellowdog granny said...

you have to do what is right for you...what you need to me...
i love you my friend...

booklady said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother. As for not being there, I totally understand. When my precious grandmother died, I would not look at her in her casket. I wanted to remembered her as the vibrant, loving woman she was. So many family members tried to push me forward, but I held firm. To this day I am glad I did. You HAVE to do what is right for you. And if you worry that you may regret it in the future, write down your reasons for your actions in a journal or other place that you can reference later.

As for the guy who called you, that is rude beyond words, and such a horrible mistake on his part. Did he really think he could convince you? I have a feeling that if his friend knew, she would NOT be grateful for his interference, which could have harmed her chances there forever. Then again, if she has friends like that, she herself might not be much better...

yellowdog granny said...

ps..if you will give me the phone number of the asshole that called you..i will call him and punk his ass with a gig in idaho for his girlfriend singer...

billy pilgrim said...

i don't think there is a right and wrong thing. there is reality and your dealing with it in your own way.

as for the caller, i just put the phone down and walk away. let the idiot on the other end talk into the phone looking for me until he figures out i'm no longer there.

Sling said...

I can understand your not wanting to be there.I would understand if did.No one can dictate how we grieve.
You showed amazing restraint with phone dude!..I would have reached through the phone,and tore out the idiot's tonsils.

Meira said...


whimsicalnbrainpan said...


There is nothing wrong with you not wanting to be their for your Grandmother's death. I think it is wise of you to recognize that you'll need your strength for later.

I don't think you are going to break. You are much stronger than you think.

CS said...

Ah, Allan, you sure don't need to be delaing with dinwits right now. I know the removal of life support happened yesterday, so at this point I can only say I'm sorry and wish you peace.

CS said...

Hey, I've been thinking about you. When you are back amongst the bloggers, I have an award for you over at my place.

angel said...

what a total asshole, i am really impressed you didn't do more!
i am late catching up here allan... HUGE hugs for the coming days, you're in my thoughts everyday!

Homo Escapeons said...

My heart goes out to you. When my Grandmother was Cancer stricken and laying in the hospital waiting for Pneumonia to take her, I went to her apartment during the final days to look after her plants.

It was weird to be surrounded by all of the little everyday items that I recognised from my childhood...teacups..figurines..tables..tea name it. I was so overwhelmed by the entire situation but I wanted to take it all in. I mean this woman had shown me nothing but kindness throughout my entire life.

I had made a point of visiting her every week and taking her out with my kids, her great grandchildren. I can't imagine what it is like to hold a great grandchild?

A few days before she passed I hoisted her featherlight frame into a wheelchair to bring her out into the sunshine for a few moments. She squeezed my hand as hard as she could and smiled...and I knew that she was close.

It's a tough thing to get through I still miss her everyday but I have some great memories and life lessons to remember her by. Those of us lucky enough to have had grandparents know how unique that relationship is.

As for the idiot on the are much kinder than I would have been...unfortunately Life doesn't stop for any of us and the rest of the show goes on as scheduled.

Auld Hat said...

You are stronger than you think.

yellowdog granny said...

are you ok?

Lyzard said...

Everyone has said most everything at this point.

The only thing I can is add is that, I am here. Reach out if you feel compelled to reach out, but whether you reach out or not, I'm here - just in case.


yinyang said...

Being there or not doesn't have anything to do with courage.

As for the phone dude... sigh. That's why I don't answer the phone until the answering machine picks it up and I know who it is.

And, the thing about your grandmother that might be good to remember is that her death was an end to the pain. It doesn't do anything to change how much you miss her, but it's something.

Allan said...

Everyone: Thank you all for your kindness and support. I'm a little low on words right now but I think very highly of my friends.
(That's you,BTW.)