I have mentioned at least once over the last few months my grandmother’s failing health, and also mentioned the death of my grandfather last year. Later today (provided this posts on time), I will be pall bearing my grandmother, at which point I will have run out of grandparents to bury. These occasions give me a generally morbid attitude, but I wasn’t close enough to either of them to be grieving too badly. I do get sad about it. I can see elements of both of them in my creative ambitions now. My grandfather’s art was music, specifically the oboe, rather than anything as nerdy as game design, but I like to think I’ve inherited something of his single-minded dedication to that art. He played in several orchestras and taught music at a reasonably prestigious university, and most of his expressed opinions on the world were informed by metaphors to music, in much the same way as mine tend to rely strongly on game theory and other board/video game metaphors.
My grandmother had an undaunted sense of independence. When I was a teenager, she was still in good enough health to visit our house, and survivor of the Great Depression that she was, she hated using more cups than was absolutely necessary, and would hide the first cup she used in the guest room so my mother wouldn’t put it in the dish washer and give her a new one the next meal. She’d wash the cup out, of course, but use the same one all day. As her health declined, she still insisted on doing as much as possible for herself. When I was watching her throughout this year (which happened only occasionally, as there are plenty of others able to help in the area), I’d offer to make every meal for her and she would refuse every one and do it herself, moving at a snail’s pace, but under her own power. I can see some elements of that in my desire to get away from having to answer to a single boss, who can threaten my livelihood whenever the whim strikes them.
I should also add, despite a general attitude of mild melancholy, I’m not that broken up about it, so I’ll mention in advance that an outpouring of sympathy isn’t really necessary. I’m typing up some brooding thoughts on this because yes, it has been on my mind, but also because I’m out of other article ideas (since my grandmother died I have written and published two different articles on how much I like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, so clearly the grief isn’t overwhelming), and the funeral and wake are taking up some of the time I’d normally be spending on brainstorming these things. It certainly didn’t help that I spent most of the afternoon (Thursday, as I’m writing this, not Friday, when it will go live) heading to my grandparents’ old house in response to an evacuation notice which, it turned out, had been sent to me and every other person in the county in error. They didn’t deserve to die, but they lived fifteen years longer than most people get.