Tuesday, December 13, 2005

5 years ago today...(pre-apologies for the long post)

5 years ago tonight I was chugging a red bull hoping to stay up late. I was just coming back down from julie's room, saying goodnight, getting ready to finish a term paper. The class was Political Parties and Elections taught by Dr. Karen Beckwith. It was an interesting assignment and I was looking forward to it. The paper was on whether or not political parties were obsolete. I had gotten a call from my mom earlier asking me to go to the infirmary the next morning to get my Mono checked out before I was to travel. It was the run up to finals week and I was leaving for christmas break soon. Devin and I were in the same class and talked throughout the night about what we were writing. around 9:00am the infirmary called to make sure I was going to show up, my mom had apparently talked to them as well. I told them I could come over but I only had a couple minutes because I still had about 3 pages left to finish and I only had 2 hours left.

The campus infirmary was about half a block away at the time and so I ran over. They checked me out and said I seemed to be doing fine. I was tired as all get out though, Mono + all-nighter had made for a very sleepy jeff. They said I was supposed to call my mom from their phone. I said, 'that's ok I live close I'll call from home.' They relented and let me leave.

Back in my room I picked out a phone card and called Pomfret Ct. My grandfather (Pop), had recently fallen on the ice and my parents were out in Connecticut helping out. My mom picked up the phone. I don't really remember what was said before or after a single sentence. All I remember was 4 words. "Pop died last night," I know this is trite and everyone has a similar story. But this took place 5 years ago tonight and I had forgotten. My dad called earlier today and when I returned his phone call the topic came up about 3/4's of the way through. It's at moments like that, when someone reminds you of something, that you relive the entire thing. I remember calling my professors to let them know that I was leaving in an hour and would have to make up my finals after the new semester had started. I remember one professor being extremely kind and trying to get me to laugh or at least smile. I also remember one professor being outraged. I remember packing my bags silently, my roommate (dave) milling around the room as Julie sat on our couch. I remember everyone in the house instantly knowing, as if my mom had called them as well. I remember wondering if the nurses at the infirmary knew before I did.

The trip to Connecticut was horrible. Getting stuck in detroit for hours because of snow storms, running from gate to gate trying to get a connection. Everyone at the airport knew too... it was on my ticket, they were to get me to new england at all costs. Everyone was working with me, for me but it seemed like I was walking in a cloud. In fact I pretty much was. I was numbed from the news, from my lack of sleep and again, from mono.

I finally arrived in Hartford around 1:00am. I had been traveling for about 12-13 hours by then. My dad and my Uncle John were waiting for me at the gate. John had always taken after Pop and tonight the similarities were eerily apparent. I hugged my dad and then John moved in for a handshake, keeping his distance for us. I sat in the fron seat on the drive home, John in the back. I tried to keep things light, poking fun at my dad's usual bed time and how late it was. 'Well if I had a car we wouldn't have this problem, would we?'

5 years ago today that happened. When I'm not thinking about it, when no one reminds me of it, it feels like 40 years ago today. But when my dad called me up tonight to tell me, it felt like I just arrived at the gate in Hartford, like my mom had just said those four words.

"Pop died last night."


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