Growing Pains: The Inevitable

So I’m sitting here in Syracuse’s airport waiting for my flight to New York (JFK). Unfortunately, this trip isn’t under the most positive circumstances.

My grandfather on my dad’s side, Rocco or how I know him, grandpa Rocky, isn’t doing so well. He was sent home with hospice care after radiation and steroids didn’t seem to reduce the golf ball sized tumor in his head. My dad said once school starts he may not be around much longer.

He’s 83.

I’ve been thinking about this type of thing for a long time; becoming the proverbial middle generation of the family. It scared me. These are people that have watched me grow. I’ve spent a lot of time with them, though I wasn’t very close with my dad’s parents. They aren’t “mushy” people. They don’t say I love you or tell you they’re proud. If they’re not saying anything, it means you’re doing well in their eyes.

My grandpa grew up in southern Italy during WWII under the fascist Benito Mussolini. He often drew comparisons between growing up in fascismo and being stuck in a hospital bed. Ridiculous, of course.

Anyway, I’m headed to see him for what could be the last time. I’m not sure what to say or how to act. When my grandma passed away last summer, I didn’t know the last time I saw her would be it. I didn’t act differently. I just was how I always was with her. This time will be different. I want to ask him a million questions and have him tell me everything he’s always wanted to say, but I don’t want to act differently. I want to be as normal as possible. For him.

This will be tough. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ll be ok. We’ll all be ok.

Getting ready to take off. Never flew to New York before. Always had a car and drove down. 45 minutes will sure beat 6 hours. See you soon, CNY.

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