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I, BM

299 792 458 ms^−1 6.67384(80)10−11 mkg^−1s−2 6.626 069 57(29) 10^−34 Js 1.054 571 726(47) 10^−34 Js 4π 10^−7 NA^−2 = 1.256 637 061... 10^−6 NA^−2 8.854 187 817... 10^−12 Fm−1 376.730 313 461... Ω 8.987 551 787... 109 NmC^−2 1.602 176 565(35) 10^−19 C 9.274 009 68(20) 10^−24 JT^−1 7.748 091 7346(25) 10^−5 S 12 906.403 7217(42) Ω 4.835 978 70(11) 10^14 HzV−1 2.067 833 758(46) 10^−15 Wb 5.050 783 53(11) 10^−27 JT^−1 25 812.807 4434(84) Ω 5.291 772 1092(17) 10^−11 m 2.817 940 3267(27) 10^−15 m 9.109 382 91(40) 10^−31 kg 1.166 364(5) 10^−5 GeV^−2 7.297 352 5698(24) 10^−3 4.359 744 34(19) 10^−18 J 1.672 621 777(74) 10^−27 kg 3.636 947 5520(24) 10^−4 m s^−1 10 973 731.568 539(55) m^−1 6.652 458 734(13) 10^−29 m 0.2223(21) 1.660 538 921(73) 10^−27 kg 6.022 141 29(27) 10^23 mol^−1

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Loss

Posted 10-16-2013 at 10:07 PM by Bullet Magnet
This was part of an e-mail I sent to a friend, but it seemed worth publishing. You don't need to say anything, all platitudes are worthless, no words can actually help, so don't worry about trying to think of something to say. You can listen, though. That helps.

My Granddad died on Saturday. He's the first person I've lost. I feel out of sorts as a result. I haven't cried, or really changed my routine that much. Or anything really. It wasn't a surprise, he was really ill, and by the end more than happy to go. Uncomfortable, unable to really move, devoid of dignity, that sort of thing. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and various versions of bronchitis and pneumonia. He was a heavy smoker. I knew what had happened before I was told. I'd heard the phone ringing multiple times while I was asleep (sorta) and dad was out. I never made it to the phone in time, but I recognises the number and suspected what it meant. I didn't call back. I didn't want to deal with that right away, or on the phone. When my dad was finally around to pick it up he immediately left, which also added up. And when he woke me up later and came into my room, I knew before he even said anything. Officially I was the last person to know, but... Stupid thing is, dad was the last of his siblings to know, even though he'd been the one on hand all the time during this particular iteration of Granddad's illness.

The funeral is next Wednesday. I'm rather worried about seeing my cousins, many of them are a bit younger and weren't told that he was as bad as he was. One of them I hear has been off school all week, and can't stop crying. Which sets the rest of them off.

My dad seems to be handling it as well as I, which may mean no handling at all. I think he's had bad moments, but not around me. I've had a bad moment at work while serving a customer, whom I nearly got very short with when he made a perfectly reasonable request that nonetheless is always annoying. You know, the audacity of a customer asking an employee of the shop that he is currently patronising to serve products that are secured behind the counter? Unbelievable. I had to go round back to get it together.

My mind is doings some strange things that I didn't know it would do. Like changing my perception of Granddad from "the way he is now" like with most people, to "the whole of my history with him all at once." It's recalling memories that I haven't thought about in years and assembling a model of him in my head that is more complex and complete than was previously necessary. Perhaps that's what people mean when they say they live on in our memories? The Granddad in my headspace is more alive now than the Granddad in my headspace ever was before. Presumably because he didn't need to be all the while

all the while he was still with me

Shit. I went to see Grandma that very evening. Her sister has been staying with her recently, over from Toronto. It was very strange. The reality of it all hung over us like a dust sheet, but everyone was still chatting about inconsequential things, even laughing. I found it slightly disturbing. More so than the moment I opened the front door and immediately expected to hear his raspy voice reverberating from the front room, or the phlegmy laugh rumbling up from his ruined lungs. Or even, you know, the hacking coughing that coloured his last few years. That's what gets me now, it's not that he won't be around, it's not the awareness of his death or the intellectual acknowledgement that he's gone. It's the absence of his physical presence where I expect him to be, especially his voice. I've got a few pictures of him somewhere, but I'm filled with dread at the thought that they may be no recording. That's something I never once expected. I'm not sure what I can really do with this knowledge. I anticipate the rest of my family suspecting that something's up if I start following them around with a microphone after this. Especially my other grandparents. Morbidly recording their voices for posterity, so that I will own their souls. I'm only half-joking.

I've been remembering a few things. Mostly from the nineties, when he was (in my memory) at his most vibrant. I recall once finding a book about graphical design in his house and wanting to draw some three-dimensional text I found in it. He agreed to show me, but that I would have to first learn to draw the typeface properly first in two-dimensions before I'd be able to move on to drawing with perspective. This annoyed me, but I did it anyway. I can't remember what I wrote, but it is significant because when I was going home I was reminded to bring it with me when someone said "***! ***! You forgot ***!" and I had no idea what they were talking about until I realised that they were using the word I had written to refer to the page it was on. It was a novel way of describing something for me and I was thrown because of it. I've always been literal and precise about that sort of thing, even as a diminutive little shit in the nineties. I wish I could remember what I wrote. It was either meaningless or idiosyncratic of my young self.

Another thing from the nineties was his motorbike. He's had a few over the years, but the one I remember, I think it was red, was a little thing that I recall Granddad tinkering with in the summer sun in front of his garage. A spectacular day, as I recall. What is it about great summers and childhood, anyway? I remember him taking me for a ride on the back of it. My cousins will be sick if I tell them about it, they missed that sort of thing by their youth. He took me for a ride around the village for a bit, it was great. The memory was quite jarring when it came to me. He hadn't been active enough to to anything like that for so many years, it's almost as if that were a different person entirely. I haven't thought about that day for this entire century, and now I realise how special it was. Interestingly I don't remember wearing a helmet. I'm not saying I didn't, it's just that my memory currently lacks that particular detail.

I remember the first time he went to hospital (that I knew of). Again, years ago, long before he became ill. and nothing to do with his illness. He was great at making paper aeroplanes, including one spectacular design that I forgot how to make (I'll find it somewhere). He made one for me that I painstakingly decorated and then took for a spin in the garden. Before long it was stuck in the hedge, beyond my reach. Granddad came out to help. The hedge at the end of his garden is behind a sort of raised rockery, about a foot and a half above the lawn. He had to stand on it to get close, and then reached for it with a stick or a pole. He must have pokes a thick branch or something, because he managed to push himself off the ledge and fell backwards onto the patio. Youch! Dad saw it through the window and was out in a flash, I thought I'd broken his back or something, blamed myself, naturally. Oh, the ambulance, like some spectre out of the future, came to to take him to hospital to check him over and dad visited me in school the next day to tell me he was fine. A big to-do, it was. I'm deadly with a paper aeroplane, remember that.

Something small but significant to me was a newspaper he saved. Both sets of my grandparents would save newspapers with interesting science stories in them, especially dinosaurs. This time he told me of it before he found where he'd put it, so I was left with only his interpretation at first until my next visit. He told me of the discovery of a "four-winged dinosaur." I just thought "what the hell are you talking about Granddad? That doesn't even make sense!" I'd never heard of wings on a dinosaur before, so my best guess was that he was talking about a pterosaurs (which are NOT dinosaurs, I would always, and still do, remind people). But a four-winged pterosaur made no more sense either, that would be a radical alteration to their morphology. When he found it,he showed me the first image I ever saw of the recently described Microraptor gui. Son of a gun, four wings! Sun of a gun, FEATHERS! This was revelatory to me. The only link between dinosaurs and birds I'd heard before was a throwaway remark in Jurassic Park which made it sound like an explanation for the dinosaur's extinction more than of the origin of birds, so I dismissed it (I'd made the extinction of the dinosaurs my history project in primary school a few years earlier). So one thing I remember about my Granddad was that he introduced me the the most important fact about dinosaurs that I would ever learn. And therefore the most important fact that I would ever learn.

One more odd memory that has come to me. Nineties again, the remastered Star Wars films were out in cinemas again. I had just spent my birthday money in Toys 'R' Us buying a Micromachines Action Fleet TIE Interceptor and TIE Bomber, which I was well chuffed with. We visited Grandma and Granddad before I got home with them, and I opened the TIE Bomber there to show him. He admired the design and the detail keenly with that technical eye of his, from all angles, turning it over in his hands multiple times before delivering his verdict "that is one sharp looking vehicle".

I don't think I yet know just how much I miss him.
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Old
Nate's Avatar
*hug*
Posted 10-17-2013 at 02:44 AM by Nate Nate is offline

Old
STM's Avatar
Man, losing someone is always tough, my grandmother was like a second mother to me and when she went it left a hole that took years to diminish in size. I can sympathise, is what I'm trying to say, whether that means anything to you or not I don't know.

All I can say to help, I think, is don't try to pervert the grieving process, if you need to cry, cry, and if you want to laugh, laugh.
Posted 10-17-2013 at 10:00 AM by STM STM is offline

Old
MA's Avatar
you're in my thoughts, mate.
Posted 10-17-2013 at 05:58 PM by MA MA is offline

Old
AlexFili's Avatar
Losing a grandfather is tough. I lost mine recently and I know what it's like to miss someone, especially if they were very kind to you from an early age
Posted 10-30-2013 at 03:26 AM by AlexFili AlexFili is offline

Old
Scrabaniac's Avatar
I really sympathise with you buddy, I have recently lost my grandma to cancer, and on the day of the funeral i discovered that my other grandma did not attend as she was being diagnosed with terminal cancer at that exact time, she won't make it for Christmas so this year is really going to suck for me and my family. I have to find ways to take my mind off of it all the time, I have moved into my own place sharing with my closest friend, the time away from home has really taken my mind off of things, so I owe it all to my best friend for making me feel better. I'm happy to talk to you about things (even though we are strangers to eachother) because I am in the same boat as you
Posted 11-07-2013 at 02:35 PM by Scrabaniac Scrabaniac is offline

 

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