I turn another year older today. Apparently another year wiser and more experienced. It was definitely a year of learning. About my body as it crumbles because of years of damage due to sports, about filmmaking as I produced White Space, about myself as I continue to struggling with my wants (becoming a fighter and director, somehow at the same time) vs. my needs (keeping money in the bank). About life in general from my girlfriend and her daughter. And death from my grandfather, Frank Eidmann.
We buried him yesterday. Not the greatest birthday present a guy can ask for, but such is life. My grandfather (the only one I got to meet) and I were never that close while I was growing up. He was a pretty heavy drinker and had been since my mom was growing up. He was a WWII hero and later a fireman… but he was never really interested in the lives of his children and grandchildren. I don’t necessarily fault him for that – that was his decision and it was his life to live (he was sober for the last 10-15 years). But since I moved back to help out with him and my grandma, I have spent a lot more time with him and we have grown pretty close. I will never regret for a second moving back home. My career sort of stalling a bit (financially at least) was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got to spend more time with both of them.
I was primarily responsible for taking him to all of his doctor’s appointments, and for a while his physical therapy (until he kind of gave up on it). Some of which were quick and easy, and others that had us waiting for hours. He never wanted to leave the house, and would look for any excuse to duck out of an appointment – but I could usually get him to go. While there he usually bitched about the wait, or the old people around (he was about 90% blind)… and most of the time it was pretty funny. At least to me.
The one thing that I think I’ll always keep with me when I remember him were our trips to the barber, which was another task of mine. He hated going, but hated when his hair got too long even more. He also couldn’t stand his barber, Sam. It made the trips that much more interesting. My grandfather wasn’t much for words and Sam didn’t shut the hell up. Whenever we got there and there was someone in the chair, and Sam was talking his ear off – my grandpa would go off about them shutting the hell up (he was pretty much deaf as well and would speak in his outdoor voice at all times). Sam also wanted to cut his hair too short, and my grandma was very specific with me in terms of how she wanted his hair to be (sideburns not too short, etc…) so I would have to stand over his shoulder as he cut the hair. It was all pretty funny.
He told everyone who drove them that they were his favorite chauffeur. But I’m pretty sure I was his favorite for real, and that’s how I’ll remember my grandpa.