California Blog – Entry 7

I was sent to California with two missions – one from my uncle and one from my mom.
My mission from my uncle was to write down the story of my grandfather’s life. The mission from my mom was to convince Pappou to get a dog.
I’m not sure which one I’m making more progress with yet, but it’s obvious to me which one is more urgent.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was wrong about there being a ghost in the house my grandparents lived in since the 1960s. After spending a little time around my grandma’s things, using her bathroom and reading her old daily planners, I started to feel like she was totally gone from this place, in a happy way. Yiayia wouldn’t want to stay here at all. My grandma had a profound faith that she would one day be in heaven, a place far better than anything she could imagine on earth. My aunt said at Yiayia’s memorial service, “Of all the places mom wanted to travel, heaven was the one she wanted to see the most.”
I’m sure that she’s looking down on us, watching us, praying for us, whatever our loved ones do up there, rather than leaving part of herself behind.
As soon as I ruled out the ghost, I found out I wasn’t far off. There’s no ghost living here, there’s a zombie.
The old man shuffles about in his slippers, goes to the YMCA three times a week, and mindlessly watches infomercials for folk singers’ CDs in the evening. Yiayia’s sun hat lies where her head would on her side of the bed, which he never has to make because it’s never touched. His friends ask him to dinner, and he declines. I think he eats the same thing every day because there’s only one type of cereal in the cubbord, and the freezer is full of chicken pot pies.
He doesn’t want to go anywhere because he doesn’t want to go alone.
One of my favorite quotes from this summer’s family vacation was from my eight year old cousin. We found a dog family – the mom and the dad and their three mutt puppies playing in the sand with their people – and Lexi so severely wanted this precious white, warm and wiggling thing. My uncle said no, and Lexi, fully aware of her exaggeration, protested with, “Without that puppy I will die! Puppies heal all wounds.”
My grandpa obviously needs a dog. I can just see him tugging a little German shepherd puppy around the block and feeding it things he shouldn’t. He’d have something to look after beside himself, something to complain about, something to spend his money on… Most of all something that makes noise and lives and breathes in this house that isn’t him or his memories of my grandmother.

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