Before my second exam, I had a massive asthma attack. Probably the second worst I've had; it was definitely the worst in terms of how hard it was to breathe, but I could feel it abating, unlike one I was hospitalised for when I was 12 that just kept getting worse. So now I have to take my exam for that subject later these holidays. I'm trying to look at it optimistically: more time to study.
But that is really a trifling event in perspective. My Grandpa has been diagnosed with cancer. Lymphoma, though I'm not quite sure what type. I initially got the false implication that, as bad as that is, it had been caught early and good cause for optimism existed. I have since learnt that it wasn't caught early, and although he isn't totally screwed, it's nonetheless worse than I thought. Accordingly, I'm flying to New Zealand to spend a week with him in Nelson. I leave on Friday. Before I come back early on the morning of Sunday the 8th, I'll get to spend Saturday in the North Island visiting my other grandfather. That will be good, and I'll be able to have my first decent trip to my hometown for ... four years, at least. I've missed the place. I would have liked to have stayed even longer and spent a day in the Wairarapa, but after over a week away from home, I'll be wanting to get home, especially as I'm worried about my fish! I'm heading down to the pet shop tomorrow in the hopes that they have something to keep my fish fed while I'm gone, as Kate's in the middle of a trip home to the States and I don't know anyone else who could come and feed them.
Grandpa's news hasn't really quite sunk in yet. It feels eerie that just a few months ago, I was thinking about how remarkable it was that I've made it to 20 years old with all my grandparents alive. I don't think I know anyone else like that; most people I know have lost at least half their grandparents. But my maternal grandparents are quite young and my paternal grandparents (including Grandpa) seemed in good health for their age. I had started to become quite comfortable and content, like nothing was going to change, though I admit the thought ran through my head that surely this couldn't last. I have never lost anyone very close to me in my 20 years; I have only ever been to one funeral, for an old neighbour. As much as that's a blessing, it has also contributed to a fear of death: I have no idea how I am going to react when it finally inevitably happens, but I imagine it will be very, very bad. You know, I really had started to believe my grandparents would all live to see their great-grandkids if I got married and had children around the average age for Kiwis and Aussies. Now, unless there is a miracle ... I don't even want to say it. My Grandpa is amazing. He survived Tangiwai. He has the most incredible random stories. And I think his most memorable trait is his horrifically lame wit; no-one tells jokes as lame as he does and I love it. Dad tells me that Grandpa's sense of humour hasn't abated in the slightest, so that's a good sign. I can't wait to hear what he has to say about the lymphoma.
So that's the news from Axverland. 2007 has fucking sucked. I'm off to listen to the heaviest music I can find; it's about all that makes me feel better. The drone doom style of Jesu should do the trick.
Be well, folks, and have a good one. A really good one.