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October 15, 2002
Houses In Motion
It's been almost a year since Aunt Val died.
I'm driving with my dad across the San Fernando Valley, on our way to Aunt Val's house. Though we were all promised that the house would remain in the family, it has been sold, and there are many things to be picked up and moved out. Thankfully, there has been precious little pettiness and bickering within the family about her things so far.
My dad has asked me to help him pick up a china cabinet which belonged to my grandmother, and is intended for my mother.
I wonder why he didn't ask my younger, stronger brother to help out, but I don't ask. I'm always happy when my dad asks me to do things with him, so I decide not to push my luck.
We ride mostly in silence, but not uncomfortably. I'm lost in thought, though it won't occur to me until later that this is the last time I'll make this drive. This drive that I've made since I was in a car seat. I'm thinking about what I could talk to my dad about: baseball? the kids? my family? work? We end up talking about them all, and the drive passes very quickly.
As we drive down Aunt Val's street, it hits me: this is it. I've been asked to help my dad move furniture, but I'm really here to say goodbye to this house that's been part of my life since I was a child.
A tremendous sadness washes over me as we back into the driveway.
I exchange polite hellos with Aunt Val's daughter, who is responsible for the selling of the house, and walk inside.
It's the first time I've been there since her death, and the house feels cold and empty. It's more than just the furniture being gone. It's her warmth and love that are missing.
Most of the furniture has been moved out, but certain things remain untouched: her bookcase, filled to overflowing with pictures of the family and children's artwork...some of it mine...still dominates tne side of the living room, the recliners where my great grandparents spent most of the last years of their lives opposite. I remember sitting in my Papa's chair, while Aunt Val sat next to me, watching Love Boat and Fantasy Island, thrilled that I was staying up past my bedtime, watching shows intended for grownups, putting one over on my parents who would often drop my siblings and me off for the weekend.
I loved those weekends. When we spent time with Aunt Val we were loved. We were the center of the
Universe, and though she was well into her 70s, she would play with us, walk with us to get snacks,
let us stay up late. It was wonderful.
In the living room, the table where Aunt Val would put the artificial tree at Christmas is gone, though it's footprints still mark the carpet. In my mind, I put it back, fill the space beneath it with gifts, warm the air with the laughter and love of the entire family gathered around it, singing songs and sipping cider.
I blink and the room is empty again. The warm light of memory is replaced with the harsh sunlight of
the fading afternoon. Aunt Val's dog Missy is nosing at my hand, asking to go outside.
I lead her toward the patio doors. Aunt Val's dining room table, where the adults would sit at reunions and holiday meals, is still there, covered in paperwork and trash. It's a little obscene.
When I was little, Aunt Val would always sit at the card table --the kid's table-- with us, and when I was fourteen or so I was moved to the "adult's table." The next year I begged to be granted a spot
with her at the kid's table again.
Missy is impatient. She urges me through the kitchen. I look at the cabinet where my great grandparents kept their Sugar Corn Pops cereal. Regardless of the time of day my brother and sister
and I would arrive at her house, we were always hungry for cereal, and Aunt Val was always happy to
oblige. This cabinet, which I couldn't even reach, this cabinet which held so many wonders is now empty, and at my eye level. I am sad that my own children will never get to look up at it's closed door, and proclaim themselves starving with a hunger that can only be cured by a trip to the Honeycomb hideout.
The kitchen counters are littered with dishes and glasses. Notes written in Aunt Val's handwriting still cling to the refrigerator, surrounded by my cousin Josh's schoolwork.
They say that when a house is passed over by a tornado, it can do strange things to the things inside. They say that sometimes a whole room can be destroyed, and the table will still be set, candlesticks standing, untouched by the violence of the storm. As I look at the refrigerator, unchanged in nearly a year, I wonder why some things have been left alone while others have been
completely dismantled. It's like a half-hearted attempt has been made to honor her memory.
I walk onto the patio. Missy runs after a bird, and disappears around the corner of the house, leaving me alone.
I stand on the patio, knowing that it will be for the last time. I see the backyard through the eyes of a child, a teenager, an adult, a parent. I look at Aunt Val's pool, and remember when I was so small, riding around it on a big wheel seemed to take all day. I remember playing with my cool Trash Compactor Monster in the shallow end, before I was big enough to brave the deep end and it's mysteries, known only to the Big Cousins. I remember being unable to ever successfully complete a
flip off the diving board, and reflexively rub my lower back.
I look at the slide, and the sobs which have been threatening since I walked into the house begin.
In summer of last year, I'd taken Ryan and Nolan to spend the day with Aunt Val. The three of us sat
with her on the patio, eating hot dogs she'd grilled for us, drinking punch she'd made. The kids talked eagerly with her about their plans for the rest of the summer and the upcoming school year. I watched her listen to them, the same way she'd listened to me say the same things twenty years earlier, happy that they were getting to share in her unconditional love the way I had.
We went swimming. Nolan and Ryan both doing cannonballs and flips, Aunt Val always giving them an approving, "Good for you, kiddo!" after each trick.
God, I can hear her voice as I write this.
When they grew tired of tricks, they took to the slide. They took turns for a few minutes, going head-first, on their backs, on their knees.
Ryan was sitting at the top of the slide, waiting for Nolan to get out of the landing area, when he screamed and raced into the water. I immediately knew something was wrong, and rushed to the water's edge to meet him.
I got him out, and saw that he'd been stung by a wasp.
We patched him up with baking soda and some Tylenol, and prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon inside, watching TV.
Aunt Val wouldn't hear any of that. She picked up a broom, and some Raid, and marched out to the angry nest of wasps, which we now knew was just beneath the upper edge of the slide. The wasps were pretty pissed, and beginning to swarm, and I couldn't stop my 84 year old great aunt from wiping them out, so the kids could continue to play.
I'm looking at the slide, remembering that day, remembering how scared I was that she'd get stung and would go into shock, remembering how much fun the kids had with her.
I remembered that day, and recalled a thought I had back then, watching her battle with those wasps: Aunt Val isn't going to be with us forever. Some day I'm going to stand here, and she'll be gone, and I'll cry.
So I cry. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her. It's not fair that she died. It's not fair at all. I miss her. She was in perfect health one day, and the next she was gone. It's not fair, and I miss her, and I have to say goodbye to this house, and that's not fair either.
The finality of her loss takes hold, and refuses to let go. I cry until my sides hurt and my throat is dry. My cheeks are soaked, my nose is running. It's fitting that as I bid farewell to the house and person who played such an important part in my childhood, I sob like a child.
After awhile, I pull myself together, take a hard look at the backyard, run my hand along the slide, and say goodbye out loud.
I walk back into the house, and I help my dad load the china cabinet into the car. It is heavy and cuts into my hands as I lift it. I'm nervous about dropping it.
Aunt Val's daughter comes out of the house. I want to scream at her for selling off this enormous part of my childhood, but I don't. I continue tying down the cabinet, tell her goodbye, and get into the car.
We pull out of the driveway, and drive down the street for the last time.
I speak effusively with my dad on the drive home. I talk about the kids. I talk about work. I talk about the Dodgers and I ask lots of questions about when I was a kid. I want to cherish this time with him, make the most of it. I don't want to waste any of the time we have together.
When we get home with the china cabinet, my mom asks me how it was being at Aunt Val's house.
"Tough," I tell her.
We unload the china cabinet. My dad hugs me tightly and thanks me for helping with him. I tell them
that I love them, and I drive home, alone and silent.
It's been a year since Aunt Val died.
Truth is, it could be a day, or a decade. She is gone, and I will always miss her.
Posted by wil at October 15, 2002 03:09 PM
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And I cried with you.
My grandfather died on sunday and I am going to his funeral on thursday. I actually thought about what you wrote about the death of your Aunt yesterday. Just thought you should know.
I wrote about it here
My dad died a year ago and I know how it feels to lose someone close to you. The hurt never quite goes away. As time passes you will feel a little better but you will and should always remember. I know I will. Always take the time to live life to the fullest and don't miss a minute of the time you have with your parents or your wife and kids. Those are the best times in the world.
Best to you and your family......
I miss my grandparents more than anything in this whole world. Every time i hear a stroy about Aunt Val i become reminiscent of a family i barely knew, and I cry.
I just want to say I think its so rare to find someone who shares there life with a world of people he hasnt met yet. Its amazing to read about your life...thanks for sharing.
Note to self: don't compose in Kwrite. It really messes with the word wrap.
I'm sorry for your loss but glad for the great memories you have. Some of us were too young when we had close relatives die and we can't remember the vivid details of the time we shared with them. Just be thankful for the time you did have together.
It amazes me how being in a place can bring back emotions and memories. You capture the moment very well... you draw out the emotion... you make me feel.
Not many can do that. :) Go you. And I hope your good memories of Aunt Val never fade.
>Truth is, it could be a day, or a decade. She is gone, and I will always miss her
Wil, I know exactly how you feel. On friday night, my best friend of 15 years (I'm only 19, so it was most of my life) was thrown from her horse. She spent Saturday and Sunday in a coma, and then her family decided to take her off the machines on Sunday night. The doctors said she had really been gone since friday. Its hard, someone will say something, even something that isn't sad or anything, but I'm reminded of a time I spent with her.
Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Its hard to put feelings like this into words, but its nice to know that someone understands, even when the words don't come out properly.
i've never lost anyone that close to me, so all i can say is i'm sorry.
come on wil, it's not cool to make people cry at work. But thank you again for opening up your life to us.
I'm sitting in front of my computer right now, tears streaming down my face. Thank you for sharing this with us. It's clear that your Aunt Val was a special part of your life, and that your cherished your time with her. Simply from reading this, I can feel how much you loved her, and am reminded how important it is to cherish every day you have with someone.
I'm crying too; I have felt like you do.
I can tell you that are lucky.
It's horroble to lose someone so cool, and the finality is stunning, but incredible gratitude will fill you again and again because of the wonderful way she was a part of your life.
Thank you for the way you write.
It's very real.
Having just read your posting, memories of my grandfather come flooding back into my heart. I was lucky, the last time I spoke to him I made sure he knew how much I loved him, but I didn't know that it would be the last time I would talk to him. I did't really allow myself to grieve right away but eventually I came to terms with the loss. I still miss him very much, but I have many wonderful memories of him which help ease the hurt a little. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
> Note to self: don't compose in Kwrite. It really
> messes with the word wrap
Geez, dude! You post something like that and worry about WORD WRAP???
Very, very evocative. My sympathy for your loss, and for the losses that we all have suffered over the years. In a way, you've summed them all up for us all with this one entry.
Those wasps didn't know they were messing with --
(dramatic pause, add ECHO to narrator)
-- AUNT VAL.
Laughed out loud at the demise of the wasps. Gotta love Aunt Val's feisty self. I've a number of elderly relatives, Grandparents, Great-great uncles and aunts, who are getting pretty close to the Time. I sure hope that my cousins and their kids can hear about the things Grandma and Grandpa got up to in their day, and I hope we can keep that house, home of so many Thanksgivings and Christmasses, too.
It's good of you to go easy on Aunt Val's daughter. I'm sure things are not kosher in her mind either, but she's facing the reality of all the lagal stuff that happens with an estate, and she probably doesn't have a lot of choices.
No one is ever gone when people who love them remember them and miss them. such is life.
damn you wil wheaton! :::shakes fist::: you almost made me cry :) every time i come and read a story like that, i know you are a brilliant writer. don't let anyone ever tell you different.
i sometimes sit around and get depressed about how the past is gone; but then i realize that i should be sitting around and thinking about how the people around me now are so great. remember that and show your boys how great childhood can be.
p.s. i was wondering what happened; your site is one of the very few that looks right in my crappy resolution lol
I lost my grandpa in '93, he was the only grandparent I ever knew. His memory is with me every day, all the things we did together, the places we went, the things we talked about, that at the time were so inconsequential but now mean the world to me. The good memories are what tempers the loss. I don't think time heals ALL wounds, but it does prove we can survive. My best to you and your Family Wil.
You should ask John Edward (Crossing Over) for a reading. Several celebrities have done it and I always feel better about life and death after watching his show.
Something to think about.
I don't know how you do it Wil, but you can convey emotions, just in your words better than most people can do in person. Hearing you describe your aunt's house reminded me of my second cousins. I could picture myself there in a few years, saying goodbye to my childhood and to her. Missing the feeling of coolness that I got to hang out with all of the big kids playing pool, Sega, and horseshoes. I understand Wil.
No one is truly gone who is remembered.
Love is the only immortality avialable to us, so I imagine your Aunt Val is smiling down from heaven, thanking you for making her immortal.
I dread going back east and seeing the hollowed out shell of my Nana's house. She passed away this past spring, and she lives -- er, liveD (see, I keep doing that) -- on the other side of the continent from me. Seeing that empty house will make it all too real.
Thank you so much for this entry. It's very touching.
I've posted before, but this is different. Your words and reflection are very deep and thought provoking. My condolences, but I'm very glad to hear that you have such vivid memories - and that you decided to share them. Thanks.
You know, I always ask people that if I were gone tomorrow, how would you remember me? What's the worst thing about me that you could say? Truth is, most people couldn't care less about how they'll be remembered. I most certainly do care and I do my very best to live my life well because I want to leave those I love with good memories.
In "Houses in Motion" you gave your fans insight to a person who is still dealing with the loss of a loved one. As a fan, I think that's very cool. While I'm a fan of Wil Wheaton the actor, through your writings I've become a fan of Wil Wheaton a very genuine and caring person. Thanks for that insight, Wil.
You know, it's funny: I was always a big Wesley fan because I thought as a person he was written to show depth and sensitivity. It's nice to know that no matter how you might recall yourself as a teen, there was undoubtedly a lot of Wil Wheaton in Wesley Crusher.
Jerry (Norbie) Fiore
Oh, one more thought - and from a TNG episode, no less!
"No goodbyes, just good memories."
As I sit here and cry with you, I'm reminded of when I had to do the same thing you did, going through the house and removing things that needed to be distributed for my grandmother, and how I hated that the house was sold and I would have done anything to keep it for myself. But I was only 11 and had to watch as everything I loved in that house was taken away. At least your kids got to meet your Aunt Val, mine will never meet my grandmother.
i can't believe it's been a year that she's been gone. it seems like just a short time ago that you posted your beautiful tribute to her.
this moved me to tears, wil. that rarely happens.
Wil, once again i realize how thought provoking some of your entries can be. I've only been a regular reader on your site for a few months and entries like this simply amaze me. Even after a year i can see plainly that the wound is still raw and the hurt fresh. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I love reading things like this because its helping all of us, your fans, to get to know you on a more personal level. Keep up the good work! Brook
that was beautiful.... im crying here... god wil... you have a way with words... never stop writing....
That's a really good entry Wil, best one I've had the pleasure of reading. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing this with us. It has been just a little over a year since my dearest grandfather passed away. I feel much the same way about him that you do about Aunt Val. Many hugs for you and your family.
How rich you are. Memories are like cherished gold. I am a bit envyious. I wish I could have had more of a chance to know my grandpa. But I am glad for the time I did get with him. It is kinda fustrating that I only knew him from a childs perspective.
Wil, when you write these sad stories it always brings a tear to my eye.
I'm sitting here in with tissue in hand. You really touched me today, Wil. I cried for your loss and cried about my own. I'll never forget walking back inside Grandma's house 6 months later and feeling so empty. I'd give anything to be able to sit with her and just get to know her better. I didn't realize until she was gone that I had never once sat with her and asked her what it was like when she was growing up. What were her dreams. What was my dad like as a kid. It took the loss of her to make me realize how much I had alienated myself from my family because of my silly shyness. I always say 'I love you' now. But will feel forever guilty about the one who never knew.
What a wonderful tribute you have done for your Aunt Val.Is it too late for you to put this in your new book? It would be the lasting tribute to you Aunt.
It's so great to have such touching memories of someone so loving. Gone but not forgotten.
Thanks for sharing that, Wil. :]
of all the things about the death of a loved one...the closing down of the household is the hardest for me...knowing it'll never be grandma and grandpa's house ever again...and even though i knew since they died it could not be the same...the child in me wanted to freeze the moment and hold fast to the way things were.
You constantly amaze me with your sensitive and evocative writing. As others have commented you're an amazing person for sharing yourself the way you do with complete strangers like us. In just two short months you've totally turned around my opinion of you to the point I tell everyone I think will understand to go read your website. I'm well and truly hooked!
Your Aunt Val sounds very like my maternal Grandmother, the matriarch of our clan. She passed away 6 years ago and reading your words today evoced some strong memories. Somehow it feels better to know that other people feel the same way.
Drakensykh said 'No one is ever gone when people who love them remember them and miss them. such is life.'
Too true. The pain never completely goes away - but it does lessen. Soon, you can think of them doing something funny or stupid, and you can smile or laugh. But the first little while is hard. Perhaps the hardest thing I ever had to go through. I lost my most beloved ones 10 and 9 years ago respectively. You might think after all this time it would be in the back of my mind, not the front. But something will happen to take me back, and I will remember their faces, the things we did together....and the fierce grief. Thanks for the post, Wil. When's that book coming out?
I'm dreading that day. My Grandfather passed away a month ago, and now the house on the lake where I spent many days of my childhood will soon be sold.
I have been reading your web sight for a few months now, and I have to say that you are at your best when you are sharing about you family. The other day with your step son made me smile, and today the story of your aunt Val made me cry. I didn't have an aunt Val in my life, but I did have two parents who remind me of her and they too are gone. I live miles away from where I grew up, but every time I go home to the that city, I will come across something or place that brings up those same types of emotions, and they are with me again if only for that short time. Thank you for sharing and I hope to read allot more for years to come.
Best Wishes and God Bless
From your comments last year and this year about your Aunt, it sounds even more like your Aunt and my Great Grandmother were birds of a feather. I miss her yes, but get to remember and laugh when I think of the life she shared with me. She passed away years ago and was 98 years old. She is always with me in my thoughts and heart.
Sounds like your Aunt is in yours.
Perhaps the most beautiful tribute and rememberance I have ever
That was beautiful. I can definitely relate. Reading that brought back a lot of memories of my childhood.
I can't wait to read your book, your writing style is so flowing, easy to read, and very emotive. Very compelling.
On Death and Dying:
Wil, my dad left us back in '97 (is it really five years already?). That night I wrote a few words in his honour and posted it. It still brings tears to my mother's eyes when she reads it. It's not much to look at --
-- but you can look at it too, if you want.
(remember to right click to get out of this window)
Okay, I cried as well. Brings up old sorrow...my uncle who died three weeks ago, our pet cat of 16 years who passed away just two weeks ago...all the others.
Oh, and when you said DODGERs, Wil, you did mean ANGELs...didn't you???
To me, the sadness that is felt at the loss of a loved one is the reflection of the joy and happiness felt when they were alive....like you and your Aunt Val..
My brother and I became orphaned when I was 22. (having lost my grandfather at 14, mom at 16, grandmother at 18 and dad at 22). The most difficult days of my life, really. There wasn't enough tears or booze to cope with my sorrow.
We inherited my grandfathers house and property that 3 generations had lived in. There was a weird mixture of joy and sorrow attached to the place. We kept it for a few years, then my brother needed money and I couldn't buy him out and we had to sell it. I remember the heartache I felt, parting with what I saw as our family legacy. I felt I was loosing everyone again and that I was such a jerk and a failure for not finding a way to keep it.
Part of the property remains as it was when my grandfather could work in the garden. Part of the property has this monstrous house where my grandfather's rose gardens were, where my brother and I played army, where we used to swim in the lake. It's kind of obscene in a weird sort of way. I still have some sorrow about the place and the loved ones long gone and still have dreams about it, years later.
I have lost over 30 friends and relatives over the years including my best friend's suicide 9 years ago. To me, it is an honor that I can still cry and miss him, my parents, and the others. There is more dignity in this than the silly notion of "closure" (which really means "Aren't you over this yet?").
To me, it is now better to celebrate the lives of the people who are gone, rather than greive their demise. I have adopted All Souls Day (the Day of the Dead) as the day to do just that. It's coming up on Nov. 2 and this year maybe I'll take all my memories and keepsakes and go ride a roller coaster.....
The message here;
Enjoy those special people in our lives while they are here.
Cherish the memories later and keep the dream alive.
I went through the same thing as you. I know how you feel. My grandfather died a few years back, but my grandmother decided she was going to stay alone in the big house. After awhile, She got sick, so we had to move her into a nursing home, where she could be looked after 24/7. The day I found out we were selling her house, I felt like someone had taken a piece of my heart.. All the memories in their house.. The stories, the games of checkers with my papa..
Jesus, I can't believe im starting to cry..
Excitedly showing them my new train set, and what it can do... Now its gone.. Even the memories, are starting to fade.. I know it was just a house.. But so many wonderful things happend there.. im sad its gone, just as you are sad that your aunts house is gone now..
Always remember the good times.
That's one of your most powerful, honest and heartfelt posts, Wil. As is evident from the above comments, you touched a lot of people who recall similar memories of their loved ones, not the least of which being me.
My grandmother died on Christmas Eve, 1997. It's a memorable, fitting date in that we'd always celebrated Christmas at her house then. Like you, I soon had to say goodbye to a house chock full of childhood memories. It's a painful transition, but old memories inspire new ones.
Why worry about acting when you can write like this? Keep it up!
I had all these things to say, and well, I don't know how to anymore.
I lost my grandparents in the last 2 years.
Thank you for writing that and sharing it...
just when I think it's safe to read...you come up with another stirring story for us to cry over. Thank you Wil.
It's not fair to make grown men cry.
A very touching tribute to a special family member. As I read it I was reminded of what I wrote in tribute to my "adopted" grandfather who passed away this past July. I am so thankful that I was able to sit at his bedside the night before he died and say all the things I needed to.
Life is what it is, and it is not always fair or right... nor does it make sense. All we can do is cherish the memories of those we lose, and treasure the time we have with those still with us.
Lovely as always, Wil. But you know, it really IS fair. Death is just a part of life, and it sounds like your Aunt Val was more blessed than most. She certainly was blessed with a caring great nephew. If we all just went on and on, the true experiences of life wouldn't be as precious. It's the very fact that we all are part of a cycle that makes us happy when someone is born and sad when someone dies. Her part of the cycle was done, and even though she's gone, the memory of her love creates a ripple in your own life and how you think about those you love who are still with you. And the cycle goes on.
Thanks. My father has passed away 10 years ago, my mother 8. Oddly, today, I was discussing the days my parents died with a friend at work, then I come home to this. I cried as I read this. So many memories come back as the holidays approach. Be assured that over time the memories will become a great comfort to you. They are how Aunt Val will live on.
How strange? I have not cried about anything in a long time. What you wrote about your aunt made me cry. You and your family will be fine. Also you are a very good writer. You write about what you know and you certainly capture the essence of what you know. Love ya lots.
absolutely beautiful and so sad, wil. god bless you for sharing this with us.
Dammit Wheaton - ya made me cry!
Now I have to explain to my wife why I was crying at the computer. Not the easiest thing to do.
I lost my father almost 9 years ago in a tragic car accident. I must say that what you just wrote brought tears to my eyes, simply because I felt the same exact way many times over the years. Death is never easy to deal with, but I am glad you have your family to lean on. Without my mom and brother, I don't know if I would be as strong as I am now, or if I would be around at all. Your writing is so powerful, keep at it.
How is it you became an actor and not a writer?
It is good.
!+´d!«´?ust want to tell you that you are a wonderful writer, and thank you for sharing those personal memories about your Aunt. Words alone can't express how much it hurts to lose someone you love, but you've done as close to perfect as humanly possible,
It's amazing how powerful the written word is but even more powerful when espressed as eloquently as you have. It's always diffiucult for me to write about losing my father to cancer. It takes an enormous amount of courage to share those very private thoughts of grief. Thank you so much for having the courage and heart to share with us.
I really needed a good cry, thank-you. You've brought up in amazingly vivid detail what most people feel when they lose someone close to them. I've had those moments, when you realize that someone isn't going to be there forever, and then they're gone.
Cherish every moment you have with the people you love.
Thanks for a nice cathartic cry. I lost my mom about 3 weeks ago. I'm still trying to sort it out.
The reason we all root for you, Wil, is because you're a Real People. Thanks for being on the planet. And making the things that suck, suck a whole lot less.
Thanks so much for sharing your life with us, your talented writing, sensitivity and wisdom never ceases to amaze me. Your ability to touch your readers with your words and inner thoughts is truly a gift that so many of us truly appreciate.
Three years ago today, I lost my father. It was the worst time of my life I was 41 at the time and was turned back into a 14 year old. He lived in the house where he died for only 2 years. It was supposed to be his retirement palace. When I dream about him, it usualy takes place in the house where I grew up. They say the dearly departed return to us in our dreams. They comfort us and let us know THEY are alright and they still love us. That drive to pick up the china closet wasn't the last trip you made to your Aunt Val's house. You'll visit her there in your dreams, where she'll remind you how much she loves you...and you'll feel good about it.
My Nan died two years ago this week, and I think of her every day. I can remember being so excited to spend summers at my Nan's house, sleeping in the front bedroom, in the big bed. And we got the Quaker instant oatmeal for breakfast (the kind with the cool animal facts on the pouch!). Then we would take the bus downtown to explore. Nan gave unconditional love, and I was blessed to have her in my life for 32yrs.
Wil , you wrote so beautifully , the most evocative prose ...I felt like I was there
Today I was filling out one of those "get to know your friends" email forwarding things. The ones where you answer questions about yourself that are supposed to tell your friends stuff about you. One of the questions was what celebrity would you want to have lunch with? My answer was Wil Wheaton(you've knocked Bruce Willis out of the top spot! No mean feat!)
This is a very good illustration of why.
You are a tremendously evocative writer, sensitive, funny, and very very cool.
I understood instantly what you were saying about a place being part of a person. My grandmother over a decade ago and I still miss her. Sometimes when I get "homesick" I miss her house in Arizona, where we spent most of our early childhood and several summers. I remember that enclosed back porch searching for her pet turtles, amidst a jungle of houseplants. I remember the oasis of her backyard, under the big trees, surrounded with flowerbeds. I remember lounging with my sister under the lemon tree which Grandma would take fresh lemons from and use the leaves to make tea. I remember playing under the orange and pomogranate trees in the middle of the yard, and sitting under them in the shade eating fresh pomogranates with Grandma and my little sister. Later when my next sister came along we moved here to Texas and when we went back to Grandma's house, She was still the same and those wonderful trees and turtles were still there. In my heart they are there still and every time I think of Grandma and Grandpa, they are alive and they know that I am thinking of them and loving them.
Aunt Val knows that you are thinking of her and loving her too and you will see her again, as fiesty as ever!
Love and Light.
What a touching tribute this was to your Aunt Val. I'm sure that she was there with you while you wrote it, and is there with you still, watching over you and yours. She sounds like she must have been one heck of a lady! I'm sure that she is incredibly proud to have a great grandson of your character and strength. Keep up the writing, you are amazing at putting feelings to words!
Take care! Terry
Very moving Wil.
Thank you for sharing that with us.
Touching... it made me feel it to my own psyche, and reminded me of my own aunt which I miss her a lot.
Y'know, I get my make-up all nice and neat looking, and then I read this and my mascara's running down my face. Thank, Wil...
You really have a way with words. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. You have a way of expressing feelings for all of us. You are very lucky to have had Aunt Val in your life, and I'm sure she knows how much you love her.
I was telling my mom last night all about your website. Was I telling her what a great actor I think you are? Nope (although I think you are)- I was telling her what a great writer I think you are. I can't wait until your book comes out, Wil. And I would really love for you to come to good old New Joisey so I would have the pleasure of seeing you, and maybe even shaking your hand.
I'm not supposed to cry, it's not right.
Shouldn't do that either, huh ;)
My grandma had to be moved out of her house thia spring, now my aunt is desparate to get me there to go through her things. I have been resisting.
And now I know why. Your writing opened my mind to the sadness that I have been avoiding.
Thanks for helping me understand my own life better.
Keep this up.
I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt Val and truly feel for you. Thank you very much for this intimate peak into your life. You're an excellent and compelling writer and have a beautiful soul. Thank you again.
P.S. I agree, it's not fair to make someone cry at work!
I am crying along with everyone else. Wonderful writing and touching memories...
My siblings and I were never really that close to our Dad, we never did anything together. Then Mum and Dad got separated and so we hardly ever saw him. He died in March last year and sometimes I wish things could have been a bit different. The times that we had when we were little kids weren't all that bad, but things just kept getting worse. But now that I think about it, I kinda miss him.
That was very touching, Wil. I cried too.
Thanks for this, Wil. My mother died in 1994. In 1996 I got married, and later that year had my first child. The next year my wife and I bought a house. We took some of the furniture out of my mother's house, as well as some things with purely sentimental value.
I lived in that house off and on for 20 years. Now strangers live there. I don't think about it much, but it's hard when I do.
Dammit, you made me cry at work again. The first time was the story about you and the kids playing.
This reminded me of when we had to clean out my Grandmother's house. My sister, a few cousins & I were there to claim what we wanted before the rest and the house were to be sold/donated.
My parents and aunts & uncles had already gone through it.
I did, surprisingly, get the one thing that meant the most to me: the grandfather clock. Now it sits in my apartment. I keep it wound and running. Every time it chimes I think of when I was a kid at my grandparents' house and how much I love them and miss them.
Thank you Wil.
One of my earliest memories is of helping clear out my grandma's house, when I was about 4. I still have happy memories of that big and exciting place, even all these years later. Strange that I can remember the house so clearly, but I have only the dimmest memories of its owner.
And remember every time you do something cool with the kids, a little part of Aunt Val lives on through you. :)
You've braved that much more admirably than I did. My grandfather died almost 4 years ago now. Battling disease that he inevitably beat by taking his own life.
He was my Aunt Val, the man that more than anyone in this world, that i could talk to.
Thank you for sharing your life, both good and bad, with us.
I have to go to a funeral this weekend for my best friend's mother. The wake was a couple of weeks ago, and I drove around the town I grew up in, feeling like a complete ghost.
Your words today really. . . . helped. I think I'm ready to go to that funeral and say good-bye to someone who was always a quiet strength in my world.
This brought back a bunch of memories for me - my Grandmother's house in Tacoma was the same for me what your Great-Aunt's place was for you. I drove back several years later to her place. She kept it up, white place with pink trim. The fact that a crack house was two doors down seemed inconsequential to us. Now the place has gone to seed, hasn't been painted since a few years before she died.
I miss her, too. It's been 12 years.
Wil..you ARE the writer.
Some of you know that my friend and CEO of the company I work for died 2 weeks ago..I have been here 12 years and he was so close he was family.
I am still crying every day..and this entry did
not help in that aspect..however it did make me
realize how powerful a writer you have become.
Thank you for sharing Aunt Val with us.
I remember reading your first entry and the scent of the candle that lingered through the room...
To be able to express what you did....it takes not only talent as a writer, it takes love, compassion, and a courage that not many people have. While reading this I remembered visiting my grandparents as a child, christmas eve and rasin pudding by the fire. We even had the same little table that the kids had to eat at. I want to thank you for this Wil. I never had the chance to do that with my grandparents house, but I feel that through you I did. I saw myself going through the old house, seeing it the way it was, the way I remember it. Again, thank you Wil for giving me the opportunity I never had.
That's one of the hardest things about getting older is seeing the previous generation move on. When you're little, if you're lucky to have a good family, there is a security is having the Grown-Ups deal with everything. Then, when you're in the middle, you get the best of both worlds -- you get to be the Grown-Up for the younger ones, and still have the security of not being in that authoritative group of Elder Relatives who seem to be the matriarchs and patriarchs of the family.
Then, they die, and all of a sudden you have to be in that role and gawd's sake, I can't be in that role! I don't know what the hell I'm doing!
That's when it hits you that your elder relatives were no different from you, and that's when you really really really start to clue into them. It's one of the ugliest ironies of life that this happens after they're gone. :-P
I see you have touched a common chord in human essence... the loss of a loved one hits all people, regardless of status, race, sex, etc.
Thank you for sharing a very well written vignett of your life.
A loving tribute indeed, and an inspiration as well. I have no children of my own, but I have several young nieces and nephews whom I adore. As they grow older, I will invite them to spend as much time as they like at my home, free to do as they please when they please, and receive my undivided attention and unconditional love. Each one will feel like the favorite.
i know i am echoing many others when i thank you for what you wrote yesterday.
my grandmother is very close to the end, and as my family gathers around her for the few days or weeks we have left to share with her, i know that many of the things you wrote will come to pass for us.
her house, the center of my roving childhood, will be sold. her posessions will be parcelled out among the family, so many bits of her life scattered among us. my mother and i, the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter, will likely bear most of the work in cleaning, sorting, and moving. the memories will flood back, ghosts hanging in corners and flitting through halls. they already do.
i visit her as often as i can, and even though she now sits in her armchair, often too weak to rise without assistance or talk for too long without tiring, i see her as she was. making family dinners, working on her calligraphy, designing my wedding invitations.
she is a loving, wonderful, formidable woman. i dread the day that i will have to say that in the past tense.
Wow this entry made me cry...it reminded me of my Grandmother that died when I was 10. You write so eloquently.
Great story, wil. So where's the book? And thanks for making me focus for a few on those relationships that mean so much to us while we were growing up.
This is the "stuff" I so enjoy you writing about, Wil, more so than your political "rantings". We all get enough of that day-to-day. It's personal things in each of our lives that, I believe, touch us so much stronger.
Wil, I'm at work reading your post at lunch. I saw "Aunt Val" in the first sentence and I thought "Uh oh, I better not read this now, I know I'm going to get teary." But I couldn't help myself. And I did get teary. It's nice Aunt Val has a nephew who can tell the world what a loving person she was. Now we all have another memory of her.
Makes me wish I had an Aunt Val. How wonderful to have had someone in your life like that. And it's lovely that your memories of her are so clear. That's a precious thing.
Today is the 16th of October and I just finally read your story from yesterday...I am celebrating my daughters 4th birthday...HAPPY BIRTHDAY Alexis! I am in tears though..I wish my grandmother(MEMAW) was here to see her.I miss her she reminds me of your Aunt Val...a fighter..a great woman..The greatest memory I will ever have..Thank you Wil...your stories are tremendous!
Thanks, Will, for writing that. My Dad died one year and two months (and thirteen days) ago, and it's still amazing how patiently the tears still wait for moments like this.
A day, a year, a decade. I get it. Costs too damned much, but I get it.
You are a better man every time I come through this site.
Thank you for sharing memories of your Aunt Val. She sounded like an amazing woman. Your reflections brought back times from my childhood with my grandparents. It was a wonderful place in my past to visit and I thank you for helping me take that journey.
Wil, incredible story man, brought a tear to my eye. Take care.
Ahh damn it, you made me cry at work ...
I believe the "dead" aren't really dead at all. Things happen that are beyond coincidence - whether it be a light flickering at the precise time you're thinking about a passed loved one, or a song that was played at their funeral suddenly blasting through the supermarket PA system. I'm quite confident that your Aunt Val is looking down on you - watching over you, protecting you. So when you think of her as gone, remember, she's still there. Her "love and warmth" are not gone, just transformed.
And if you don't believe me, call John Edwards. ;)
My mom is Italian and my Nonna (grandma) died quite suddenly this summer. My grandpa passed the year before and so my parents had to make a quick trip over to settle the estate. I wish that we did not live half the world away in the states and I wish that my Mom could have taken everything she wanted with her. However, shipping from Europe to the US is expensive and my parents have three kids in college. My Mom wanted to save everything, old toys, reciepts, TOOTHPICK holders...At first I thought she was crazy, especially if you saw the menagerie of stuff in the house. I can't imagine only being able to take the most precious items from a house that holds over 60 years of memories.
WWDN is the only website that makes me shed a tear on a fairly regular basis. Thank you.
I must say it was hard to read your story. I am still crying as I am writing this. I lost my grandma on my mom's side 2 years ago. I was very close to her, she helped raise me and everything. I was over at her house all the time. I miss her so much. Then I lost my grandma on my dad's side in March of this year. It's not fair but I guess we all have to go through this type of thing sometime. My 2 grandpas are still here but I dread the day that I will have to go to their houses and get stuff just as you had. They say time helps to ease the pain, which is true it does somewhat,but its still there and I think it will always be. Reading this today has reminded me not to take the rest of my family for granted, they will not always be there. Wil, thanks for sharing this.
Wil that was a really sweet, sad, touching story. that reminds me of how i felt this summer when my Grandmother moved. This summer she moved to one of those asisted care apartments. not that she needed to move there. The closing for her house was about two weeks ago. I can still visit her and everything but before the house closed it felt so empty inside. I can remember all the things i used to do there when i was younger. I would sit on my grandfathers (who i never met) chair and sketch pictures. I also remember i used to garden in her back yard and eat dove bars and make mud pies and bake lace cookies on christmas. I dont think she is ever gonna bake again and I will really miss her cakes and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I had a whole room upstairs with all y stuffed animals and toys and my Stand by me poster on the wall. I always watched Stand by me and a Christmas story at her house. I really miss that house.
Originally I started reading WWDN a few weeks ago due to the Mandrake Linux thingy. Now I'm feeling deeply emotionally touched along with many other people. What a mysterious path that was.
Thank you Wil for telling your stories.
Dammit, Wil. You slay me, sometimes. I came to your site today to bust your chops (a tad) re: (some of) your views on the impending war with Iraq and then I read this. Truth is, anyone with this much emotion and heart, I'd be fool to not hear you out someday on your views. But not today.
Thank you for being vulnerable with all of us -- sometimes, you simply inspire me.
Aunt Val sounds like one special lady.
Aw, I think that's one of the few times in your stories when I see more "raw" emotion like you wanting to scream at her daughter for selling the cabinet. And also, I was very surprised that it's been a year. I remember reading that story when you first put it up, and it very much does not seem like a year at all.
my mom died when i was 12 and i miss her more now then when she actually passed away. sometimes i cry about it. i cry about my mother passing away more now, than i did when i was 12. actually, come to think of it... i didnt cry when she died. i just stood there, pretending to cry so that my brother and my father wouldnt think im just cold, heartless bastard child. this entry brought all these feelings back and its not bad. im just glad that i can still remember my mother and the way she once was...and feel for her. im sorry about your aunt. it hurts sometimes but, at least find some comfort in the fact that she doesnt have to live here any more. this world is really messed up. (this i going nowhere but, i thought it be nice to share.)
Wil, your feelings about your Aunt Val and visiting her home are everything I ever felt about my beloved Granny who died almost 2 years ago. You moved me back to the best times that I spent with her... my childhood.
It is always sad to lose somebody you love, a person who's been with you during your entire life is more like losing a part of yourself and your past, like an entire part of your life has been sliced out.
I know, I'm rambling. Sorry.
But the past few messages that have been left on this Blog remind me how meaningless my own daily concerns are in relation to the big picture.
I think I'm going to have to buy that book when it hits store shelves.
You brought back the memories of when I had to say goodbye to my Grandmother's house. She died many years ago. Her husband stayed at the house for some time, but he finally moved. I went there to help my mom get some old photo albums and some of the things that she wanted from her childhood. As I walked around the house, I started to cry as I remembering all the days I spent with her. I went into every room and each one holds so many memories. I don't think I've ever cried as much.
And I cried with you as I read. I feel you pain. Saying goodbye to a loved one is never an easy thing to do. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing. It helps us to remember our own past.
"To me, it is now better to celebrate the lives of the people who are gone, rather than greive their demise. I have adopted All Souls Day (the Day of the Dead) as the day to do just that."
Amen, Bernie, I'll remember Aunt Val along with those I've lost this All Souls Day.
That is almost the way it was for me and my sister when we went to my grandmother's house after she died years ago. It was in her will that her granddaughters come and collect trinkets and dolls and whatnot from her house. When my sister and I showed up, almost everything was GONE. I had asked my aunt where certain things were that probably I only knew were there and I was lied to about them being gone when they really weren't. I did manage to get alot of my grandmother's jewelry, including her wedding ring. It is sad when people do those kinds of things out of spite or greed. Please know that the grief and anger will pass, but it will take time. Think about what you have and live every minute to the fullest.
almost everyone has someone like wil's aunt val in their lives...try writing down a special memory of you and that person...and give it to them while they are still alive...i wrote a song about my grandma and sang it to her while she was gathered with all her friends at the nursing home...it turned out to be the best gift i could ever give...if you haven't done it before...do it now...put your love into words...and share it with one you love.
where u go wutever you do i will be right here waiting for you
whatever it takes or how my heart breaks i will be rite here waiting for you
Real sorry about your Aunt Val. From what you have told us she seemed wonderful. My grandmother died eight years ago from lung cancer. *tear* I miss her very much. anyway i have got to go sincerily Justine.
Damn you Wil! You've made me cry too.
I, too, have lost a relative who was a big part of my childhood. I spent a LOT of time with my Mom's parents while I was growing up. When gramma died I there was sooooo much I wanted to say to her. I was finally able to share it with her one evening while commuting home from work (two hour drive from San Jose to Modesto). I finally let loose and cried for the las hour of the drive. I felt that she was there with me and know now that she would have been proud to see how I've grown up.
It can be haod at times, but I'll always have wonderful memories of her that I can relive at any time I want.
Thanks for being honest Wil. It keeps me coming back.
Mr. Wil Wheaton is a truly eloquent writer and quite an impressive talent
I remember you speaking of all of this last year. About how much you loved her, about "The Prophet" and how you read it for her at the service. Your family, all of them, are truly blessed to have you in their lives.
Everyone has these "I lost someone too" stories, but I dont. This is one loop I'm not bitter about being closed out of. But, I shouldn't speak to soon, cuz I have a feeling the loop will open to me soon. My grandpa's kidneys aren't doing well and he's been on dialysis for awhile and I've heard there's not much time after that.
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I come to this site every now and then. Some stuff you write I don't agree with. Some stuff you write I couldn't agree with more. But with your story about your Aunt Val I must tell you that I certainly understand what you were going through on that day. My grandmother died 18 months ago. About a month or so ago I drove past the apartment where she once lived, and went through those exact same feelings of loss and sadness. If one thing I learened through it all is that there's nothing worse than feeling that sadness than feeling it alone. So, once again, thanks for sharing your story with us.
My Grandmother Died many years ago and you're right whether it be 10 years or ten ten days- She's still gone and not coming back- She was the one who taught me mannors and the beginnings of how to cook- she had a huge garden in the backyard, everytime I cook something with chiles or smell certain things like Lavneder- I remember her.
Her smile and strong will which I got from her.
P.S. What Angel_Gypsy said--
I'm the little sister---
You're a scientist, right? Consider this:
Energy cannot be created or destroyed.
Enery can only be changed from one form into another.
Your Aunt sounds like a woman full of energy. I for one wouldn't tackle a wasp nest! She's not gone, just somewhere you cannot go - The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.
Death and change are parts of life, to deny them is to deny life itself.
The real fact of the matter is your story is not heart-rending because you've written about her death, but because you wrote about her life. That is the thing to hold on to. Do not lament what you have lost, but reflect on what you gained by knowing her.
And all that aside, weep like a child when you cannot offset your grief with logic and rationale. After all, you're only human.
Is it me, or is Wil completely obsessed with the past? Reminiscing is good and healthy, but not as a person's constant state of mind. Wil, move forward. Stop reminiscing about Trek and when you were a kid and toys and old friends. It's the doom of child stars.
I lost my Grandmother in 1977 when I was 9 years old. Up until that point in my life, she was the one who basically raised me because of my distant Mother. (I would come to understand many years later that she suffered from, and still suffers from, bipolar disorder.) The feeling I get whenever I see her house, all these years later, is still the same becauseI was the one who found her after she had her stroke. It came completely out of nowhere. One minute she was fine and I went out to play when she laid down to take a nap and the next I couldn't wake her up. I never cried so hard in my life at her funeral. When we got back to her house, I was so pissed off that everyone was going through her stuff and acting so uncaringly(?). Unfortunately I did not have the same experience with her belongings as you did, her family was so messed up and narrow minded and greedy that I will not talk to them to this day. I miss my grand-mère (I couldn't say Grandmother when I was little. Or maybe I was French in a different life?) Who knows. All I know is that her memory lives forever in me and the pain, however diminshed it has become, is still there. I still remember the first and only time I heard her curse. Pretty mild by todays standards, she said Damn, but it filled me with such a sense of there is so much more to her than I knew and now I will never know. Regret sucks.
Wil, you tell your stories so well that I feel like I'm there with you. This story about your Aunt made me cry too as I was reading it. Thank you for sharing your memories, and please continue to do so.
Fabulously told, Wil. Thanks for sharing this.
Once again you've outdone yourself. If I was near, I'd give you a hug. Thanks for sharing.
This entry brought tears to my eyes, Wil. I just lost one of my great-uncles this past Monday. I won't be able to go to the funeral, as it's halfway across the country and my job is keeping me here. I had 2 great uncles I was especially proud of, and the other passed away several years ago. We were able to keep that house and most of the things in the family.
I hear what you're saying. Thank you for saying it. Hugs from a long way off (Massachusetts). This is what the internet -- hell, this is what Writing -- is all about. And you do it so well.
Way to go, Wheaton...you made me cry.
Not that it's a hard sell right now. My mom died fairly suddenly earlier this year and I just had to move my dad up here where I live and into assisted living due to dementia.
Tomorrow I leave to go bring the last of their furniture up and put the house they lived in for the last few years up for rent. This isn't even the house I grew up in (that one got sold several years ago so my dad could chase the last of many dreams that wouldn't come to fruition) and it's still incredibly painful. It's like admitting she's gone all over again.
And does things like make me pour out my heart to strangers on the internet just because they've had a similar experience...;-)
Damn you for making me cry. And thank you for sparking so many amazing memories of my own aunt, who died in May. I wish I could tell you how to get past missing her, but the truth is, I haven't figured that trick out myself yet. Love and light to you.
Once again, Wil grows up and tells us about it.
[and btw, "it's" only applies to "it is", not the possessive (i.e. "I saw its shining face", not "I saw it's shining face"). Granted, grammar is not the first thing on most people's minds when they are writing something like this. I'm stopping now.]
"Is it me, or is Wil completely obsessed with the past? Reminiscing is good and healthy, but not as a person's constant state of mind. Wil, move forward. Stop reminiscing about Trek and when you were a kid and toys and old friends. It's the doom of child stars."
Perhaps Wil is just proud of his 'past' -- the real question here is "What's so shameful about yours'?"
Just curious. ;)
Wil, thank you for sharing this. My own grandmother has been gone now for 20 years and I still carry with me the memories of her strength and caring.
The memory I wish I didn't have was of her last week in the hospital when her strength was gone and could not care for herself. I sometimes think she decided to let go of life rather than endure it in that condition.
Soemtimes a quick and painless death is a better bargain than merely existing.
That was the best damn thing you have posted. I had a Grandma who was similar and reading your post brought it all back.
You found your calling, Wil. Be a writer, you will make tv and movies better for knowing the process and because you write what is part of all of us, but say it so eloquently.
Please keep writing; I, for one, will keep reading.
if wil doesn't write about his work on star trek, about his past and old friends and toys...that would leave him with politics and religion to write about...that's what you want morrisey isn't it!...too bad...you're getting a real person instead...everybody's got issues...so hang around...you may learn something here.
by the way morrisey...i'm pretty sure this isn't wil wheaton's constant state of mind...it's only his blog...when he leaves the keyboard i'll bet he thinks about all sorts of things!
You asked why your dad brought you instead of your younger, stronger brother.
Just a thought: perhaps you needed the trip to your Aunt Val's house more than he needed the younger, stronger help. Dads can be smart that way. :)
Reasons Steve from Dell Should be Fired
11. Michael Dell tired of hearing "Dude you're getting a... you!"
10. Addiction to canned air becoming a real problem.
9. Was seen near the HP headquarters wearing a cow costume.
8. Too many girls are buying computers.
--> 7. More "computer savvy" Wil Wheaton close to signing a deal.
6. Consumers feel Steve talks too high tech.
5. Bidding war with The McLaughlin Group quickly reaching stratosphere.
4. Simon Cowell thinks his performance is complete rubbish.
3. His MENSA wrap parties get too out of hand.
2. Keanu Reeves threatened identity theft lawsuit. 1. Market research show dude market completely saturated.
Wil, it's entries like this that not only keep me coming back to your site, but that make me hope you'll write a book someday. You can paint a very vivid picture with words and evoke the same emotions in others that you must have been feeling. This entry reminded me of those that I've lost over the years. I remember feeling that same "it's not fair" when a favorite uncle (not really related, but we called him uncle) died too young. And it brought back warm memories of my Mummi and my Dadijan. Thanks.
Morrisey- Wil is not obessed with the past.I am positive that it is not his "constant state of mind." The past is also a part of our future. So he talks about his past, it is so cool that he lets us know as much as he does about himself. Most actors don't even update thier website themselves. Wil is awesome.
Me thinks "Morrisey" -- (if that's his real name -- arghhh! I hate it when people don't use their real names!!!) -- anyhoo, me thinks hat Morrisey is a troller.
What I'd like to see besides more great writing by Wil (he lets me call him Wil) is some more nude photos of Wil washing his Mazda Miata in the hot afternoon sun. Especially when he's only wearing his Starfleet issued COM-Badge.
So... how 'bout it Wil?!?
And Morrisey! Go find a REAL fishing hole!
Great! Now I got a cramp in my hand.
That's the real poop!
Very powerful story of your Aunt Val, for a lot of reasons that we can all relate to. You really can write. I like how you use the present tense, it kind of brings us all along with you through your day.
Wil, i'm so, so, sorry. i know how it feels to miss someone so bad...
your aunt Val sounded like someone really great, and special. hold on to her memories.
i'm sorry about your loss, but i'm happy that you had such a great aunt! :) i don't have an aunt, and i've always wanted one.
your post was, as always, wonderfully written. i'm sure your aunt would have been proud! =D
morissey, you're an ass. :) kind regards, snoozing suzy. :)
I was not expecting this letter from you this morning. I still have tears coming down my face as I write this. When you write, its as if we (the readers) are placed exactly in your shoes and experience your joys and sorrows as if they were our own.
I to had two great aunts that I visited all the time when I was younger. Reading this today brings back memories of their homes, their cats, the smell of their houses. Both of my aunts lost their faculties before their bodies passed on and returned to the earth. But they live on in my memories when they were vibrant, alive and laughing with that twinkle in their eyes that only an aunt can do.
I sincerely share the loss of your Aunt Val. Thank you for sharing.
What a beautiful, sad peice. I can really tell that there's a profound joy at the center for your Aunt, and her effect on your life. All of us can only hope to be mourned so well.
No matter how old we are, no matter how worldly, no matter how wise, no matter how we fill our lives we will always cry when we come to understand the power of love.
Thanks for sharing such love.
The Last Doctor
If only everyone would realize how little time we have to enjoy our loved ones. My Uncle Jim just passed away and I was impressed (however, not surprised) with the turn out at his viewing and funeral. He had touched so many lives. My family on both my mother and fathers side were very close. Uncle Jim would always try to take care of family matters as soon as possible and he didn't have any patience with those who were too busy to. Those who would say that they would take care of something when they got "around to it". He once made a bunch of round disks with the words "to-it" on them. He would hand them out to family and friends and tell them they now had a "round to-it" and to do what needed to be done. Take the time to make great memories.
I imagine that your father knew exactly what he was doing when he asked you to help him.. instead of your "stronger" brother.
YOU needed this...
I needed it too. Thank you.
Wow. That was truly amazing. It blew me away. I cried, which I don't do too entirely often. I never realized what a fabulous writer you are and I'd love to hear when your books comes out. You havne't stopped impressing me since 'Stand By Me.' It's so weird, there's so many memories I have that involve you yet I don't know you. Thank you for that, even though you have no idea who I am, thank you. Truly.
Please let me know when your book will be published.
My mom died last week and as part of her will, the house where she lived for the past 40 years will have to be sold. I cried as I read about your Aunt Val and I thought of all the memories tied up in this house that I call my home. You have my sympathy at this difficult time and my hopes that the good memories you hold will blot out the pain you feel now.
Ok, time for my poor attempt at cheering Wil up.
I once knew a lady who sounds alot like your Aunt Val. Her name was Vera but everyone called Maddy Sue (don't ask me why). She had lived in my village longer than anyone I knew and she was such a sweet old lady. She was blind and couldn't walk very well, but everytime you went walking past her front step, even though she couldn't see you, she'd always call your name and tell you to slow down and not to rush.
Although she was sweet she was right old battleaxe too!
Once we had an infestation of flies in the village and she went bananas. You've never seen a woman of her age swear so much!
She used to scare me to high heaven, but I loved her too.
She died several years ago but her son's only just decided to sell the house. I hadn't thought about her years but, after reading about your Aunt Val, I sat and thought for a long while and realised that, in her own special way, she loved us all too.
Thanks Wil, God bless.
my grandpa died a month ago and i didn't cry for him properly until i read this.
thank you for helping me grieve.
I read this it touched me a lot. It made me think of my great aunt bernice she died last june. Well I hope all goes well with your family.
I have no words. I read this at work and cried like a girl for about 10 minutes. We all have these moments. We shared yours. Thank you.
Wil & Co.,
This is totally unrelated to this topic, and I apologize for that, but I HAD to share this because it will probably be the closest thing to a miracle that I will ever witness.
Here goes. Six months ago I walked off my job because of the incredible a-hole that was my boss. Ten years and absolutely no respect, but I stayed because I loved the job (used music store. Need I say more?) Anyway, when I left, I left in the worst possible way, with no other job waiting for me. I know what some of you are saying. Either that I should be proud for sticking to my guns and refusing to take the abusive childish behavior form this a-hole boss and walk out in a very dramatic fashion (which I did, thank you very much) or you are saying that I was a complete idiot. Well, both are correct. I accepted that and tried to get on with my life. Notice that I said "tried"?
I grew up in the stereo-typical abusive, bi-polar mother, bad childhood, blah, blah, blah. (Can you tell I'm over it?) My biggest problem was that I never had anything in my life that was of my own making, that was truly mine. Nothing to love. That was until I found this little music store. I turned this miserable little part-time job into a full-time salaried position with more responsibilty than I had ever had and more respect than I have ever received. I loved this job because through my ideas, it was continuously expanded and improved. I discovered that change can be good! Then I walked out. Doh! Needles to say, the following pity party was galactic in proportions. And then, just when I had finally resloved that I must move on and be a grown-up and get on with my life, when the most remarkable thing happened.
This morning, 10:23am Central Time, the asshole boss that I felt drove me away from my reason for being (I know, but I'm gay and the dramatics are required by the union. Sorry) knocked on my door and asked me to come back. He actually said that they had fired the little "party boy" for being late, again, and he, HE, said that he would like it if I came back. He then added that he realized that I was the perfect person for this job and that this job was perfect for me, his words, I swear. He then did something that made me think that Hell itself froze over. He very simply apologized. HE APOLOGIZED!!! I could now understand the saying "You could have knocked me over with a feather" because you could have.
I realize that he will only be nice for a month or so and then probably go back to the way he was. I also realize that there is nothing that I can do about it. Thank God that his brother runs the store more than him so I can look forward to working with him again. I know that the coming time will probably be stressful now and then and I can live with it because I am doing the one thing I love the most. I am tired and my feet hurt a little and haven't felt so good in six months.
In closing I would like thank whoever is responsible for this (God, Bhudda, Jehova, Vishnu, Allah, Zaktar the Immortal (you never know), etc) and I thank you all for allowing me to share this moment. And thank you Wil for giving me and all of us this chance to share and rejoice in all things.
My deepest sympathy on your loss, though it was last year. I lost my mother 10 years ago, and a very close friend two years ago this month--you do get used to the absence, but I don't think "getting over it" is an option, not if you expect to lead the life of a thinking, feeling being.
I still remember the way the kitchen smelled when Mom was making Thansgiving dinner (rarely less than a two-day process!) and her asking me to taste the filling for her wonderful pumpkin pie. And there are days I'd swear I can still smell Steve's cologne...
I would recommend the book "What Dreams May Come" by Richard Matheson, which had a profound effect on the way I look at death. I would also say:
"Death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others...which is why it is not an end."
Yes, one of the best definitions of this most painful part of life...from TNG. And a reassurance that though your Aunt Val is no longer available to battle wasps, she'll never really leave you.
Damn, now I'm crying, too..
My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer this summer. I saw him this week and he looks good, but you can tell he's not the same as he was last summer. I fear that he'll miss the little things in my life (I'm only 20) that I haven't achieved yet, like my college graduation and if I ever get married. I want to have kids one day, I want him to be around to see them. I really can't talk about how I, selfishly, want him to stay, because I think it's only going to open up wounds. We're trying to live our lives, not concentrate on when they'll end, right?
Your words are poignant and I appreciate them, because they capture exactly what I know I feel on a day-to-day basis.
My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer this summer. I saw him this week and he looks good, but you can tell he's not the same as he was last summer. I fear that he'll miss the little things in my life (I'm only 20) that I haven't achieved yet, like my college graduation and if I ever get married. I want to have kids one day, I want him to be around to see them. I really can't talk about how I, selfishly, want him to stay, because I think it's only going to open up wounds. We're trying to live our lives, not concentrate on when they'll end, right?
Your words are poignant and I appreciate them, because they capture exactly what I know I feel on a day-to-day basis.
Wow. So moving. I'm crying like a baby. I think everyone can identify with that loss in that way. My paternal grandfather passed away a few years back and even though I thought I was ready for it, I wasn't, and it still hits me like a ton of bricks.
Memories can bring such joy and sadness at the same time
wil, whats it been? like 5 days now? Throw us a bone, anything! we need you! I need my fix!
LOL, kist kidding. A great entry, was also very moved. You have transitioned from child actor, to actor, to just being, to being a writer. I don't think we're ever destined to "be" something, just destined to do things worthwhile to others. Throughout your life, that's all you've done. And now by writing, you're doing it again. Don't stop, as long as you feel it, don't stop, for yourself and for us :)
wil, I have to throw in with everyone else and say thank you for sharing that experience with us. truly, thank you.
and I also have to agree with those above and say you should really write a book. in fact, if my company didn't just stick to cookbooks, I'd be pitching to you myself.
thank you, again.
I think Wil is forgetting a poignant piece of his childhood memory:
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah
Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
My grandma passed away on October 10 ... it's such a rough time for us right now. I miss her so much. I enjoyed reading your story.
Went to visit my 102 year old grandmother today. Unsurprisingly, she's old and frail, and her mind is gently fading into twilight. But we chatted, and it was just like the old days when we were kids and she'd make every visit enjoyable and exciting. Like your Aunt Val by the sound of it, she always treated us as people not kids, and we loved her for that. And she's still just as interested in our lives, and today was great, she revelled in our presence and we revelled in hers, and although I'd just thought of the Sunday trip as the thing I was doing after a great Saturday night out, actually it was the best part of my weekend, and I realised briefly what's really important in this life. Which is just what you're so good at reminding us, Wil.
Very moving and powerful, Wil... I almost chastised myself for crying halfway through. But after reading (some of) the many comments, I realized I was not alone.
I've lost people -- some of them old folks whose time had come, and some of them people my age who died too young. It never gets any easier. We do honour to them by remembering their lives. After they are gone, that is the most we can do.
I was a fan long ago, have only newly discovered your website, and now am a fan all over again.
Sometimes when we lose those close to us, memories of them sneak up on us and flood our senses, obliterating all else. Your entry triggered one of these floods for me. My mother is dead 9 years now, and though I have learned to cope with the reality of that loss, I have never truly got over it. I remembered cleaning out her closet for my father, and taking the dress she wore to my high school graduation home with me. It still has a place in my trunk, never worn (doesn't fit), but never donated to the charity that received the rest of her clothes. After reading your story I took it out and buried my face in it, and just ...remembered. The little things get you through.
A very stirring tribute. My Gram Mary died in 2001 at the age of 84. I know how you feel when the family matriarch passes on. There is just such a huge void...she led all of our family traditions and gave me huge helpings of self esteem when I visited her. I was lucky to have her in my life but there was something "okay" about her passing at age 84 of old age. 84 years is a decent life.
Sadly, my parents are are dead as well. They died young (in their 30's). I hope you go many decades before you have to write about your parent's passing.
I know how you feel. A month ago, September 15th, my whole world fell apart when my grams died. Reading your memories of your Aunt Val reminds me of what I've been going through. Although, I lived 4 hours from where my grams I use to spend all my time with her growing up. She helped raise me until my family moved away when I was 5. I spent every summer with her, and she was the greatest. I've cried everyday since she's passed away, and I know I'll always love and miss her. Thanksgiving is going to be our first holiday without her, and I know this year is going to be the hardest year of my life...the hardest since my best friend died when I was 15.
I don't want to be insensitive now, but I like your "normal" entries better. The ones that doesn't sound like they'll get published somewhere. Now I feel like an asshole. I'm really not. I swear. I feel for your loss and all, I wasn't singling this specific entry out in any way. But honesty is a quality too right? I'm sorry if I offended anyone (good thing it's comment number 200 or so...). Just an opinion. You do write great stuff.
I understand how you all feel. My grandma is still living, but we put her house up for sale this past summer and it sold so fast I didn't have a chance to get there and say goodbye. My grandma's house was the one place that was stable for me, having moved 13 times before my 10th birthday. I'll miss the huge backyard which seemed made for kids, and the tree my mother mowed down as a teenager, and the place where my cousins and I made swings with rotten rope which broke under my weight and sent me crying into the house. It's sad, but I suppose it's the way things are. *sigh*
Don't feel bad there, Plume. It's not that you're an a-hole, you just are so completely disconnected from your emotions that you have no awareness whatsoever of how tacky and tasteless it is to post such a comment in this string.
Wil is honest. You're honest. The difference? Your honesty makes people feel sorry for you. Whereas Wil's honesty just makes folks feel healing from his words and honesty.
Try checking out this site here: http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.com/... It may be more in line with your taste.
Take care of yourself there, Plumey.
You bet your poop.
Hi, I just read the article about your late Aunt Vale. It's a very moving memory, thank you for sharing it with a bunch of strangers.
I am very disconnected from my emotions, emotionally troubled even. But anyway, the morning after it struck me that I was so busy trying not to be insensitive that I ended up being very insensitive and I want to apologize, I shouldn't have posted that, certainly not after that entry. I'm sorry. I'd delete it but.. well I can't.
As sad as this day clearly was for you, I'm at least happy for you in that you got to visit the house one more time before it was sold. The old rickety farmhouse where I grew up was burned down to clear the land about ten years back. I had wanted to go back to see it one last time before that, but the fire department moved up the burn date before anyone could notify me, and all I got was a phone call telling me "it's gone now" and some pictures my folks took. It wasn't losing a family member, of course, but it did leave me feeling like my roots had been torn from the very ground and cast to the four winds.
I suppose I could end by telling you once again how wonderfully you express yourself in writing ... but at this point doing so seems almost superfluous. It would be like telling Eric Clapton that I think he's a pretty good guitarist. :)
> Note to self: don't compose in Kwrite. It really
> messes with the word wrap
*binky shudders and again makes sure she has no kde proggies on her laptop.*
I am sorry for your loss. Your story brought back many memorys for me as well as the other 800 or so people who have already posted a responce. It is always sad to lose someone thaat you love.
I think you should have Val's daughter beamed directly into space.
I understand Wil,
I lost my Uncle Bob about two years ago.
You're right, it isn't fair. Yes, I miss him. But the memories are what keeps them alive dude.
You were loved, that's Aunt Val's legacy to you...
I am a motherfucking pile of useless shit.
I am a coward.
Wow! My throat welled up as I kept reading. I knew what was coming but I still kept reading. I lost my Nanny in the Spring of 95 and I still cry about her death, and I guess I always will. There is nothing more special then a grandsparents love. I remember doing things for my Grandmother that I would never do for my own mother. But thats what its all about. I see the same thing happeneing to my children and their grandparents and instead of trying to say,"Hey they don't eat that at my home or they are not allowed to watch that at our home.".I just let it slide, because I know that the cycle continues and hopefully my children and their childern and their childrens children will all go through the cycle, for it is one cycle that should never be broken.
I personally am not one to throw around the 'I know how you feels'. Yes, I've experienced family loss but believe that loss and grief are far too unique of emotions for each of us to think that I 'know' exactly how someone else feels.
Instead, know that you do have my empathy.
Thanks so much for sharing this story that obviously many of us are relating to.
I am sorry for your loss, and I am glad that you finally let go. It is a huge step in the grieving process. I can say things that a million other people will say.. remember the good times and cherish what you have now. I know that is what should be said.. So I will say it.
Wil, Seeing a loved one in your mind as they used to be is a comfort nomatter the time that has passed. My grandfather died four years ago and I still cry when I think of him. He was so special to me, and the memories are still so very vivid.
Hey there uh Johnny boy... Sorry that it was a slow night for probin' porn in your mommy's house. Speaking of, did you ever get around to getting off your fat lazy worthless ass and dump that garbage like mommy asked you to?!?
Anyhoo, I guess we all getta see what interesting neat comments you'll toss our way next. Putz! Serioulsy, take the gun barrel out of your mouth long enough to look in the mirror and say, "Wow. I really am a true blue loser boy that has nothing better to do than to act like a complete creep."
Hmmm... better get back to your surfin'.
Careful of hand cramps and don't get the KrispyCremes gunk on your mouse/keyboard -- if you can tell it apart from the other sticky materials...
buh-bye (for now).
Wil, your words are so powerful. You words fill my mind with images, and memories of my own. Your words touched me, and made me cry. You are an awesome writer! Only a true writer can turn words into pictures and emotions like that! Thank you for sharing.
My Great Uncle died 12 days ago after a battle with cancer. I e-mailed this story to all my family members. It hit home, it's like that. And I will miss Captain Dave forever, he's gone, and I miss him - I'll always miss him. Your words were very comforting and rang true in my heart.
I FUCKED HER HARD AND LONG, RIGHT IN THE ASS!!
CHANGE MY COMMENTS WILL YOU?? WHO'S THE COWARD.
Wil, with all these vivid thoughts and emotions, and how you word them.. well man, I think you should write a book, no really! at least get your thoughts down on paper.
I know it's a bit late to comment, but I'm playing catch-up.
Your post reminded me of my grandmothers house, and I mentally toured her house as you toured your aunt's.
For some reason, whenever I said I was hungry, she'd offer me some cheese like it was candy, and I'd eagerly nod. Cheese never tasted like that anywhere else...
I found this from the 'big announcement' post. It's so weird, I wasn't even reading your blog last year, but it feels like I know you so well! I think everybody feels like that.
My grandparents had a cereal cabinet too, in Birmingham (England). We'd turn up in the afternoon and I'd look longingly at the mini-cereal packets, and reserve myself one for the next day with my brother, who wasn't always so happy about it. It was always a race for everything. Breakfast was the best time of day up there, because I'd go downstairs and sit at the table, kneeling on the chair because I didn't like the way my feet dangled, having pleasantly forgotten about the cereal. Finding out was the best thing in the world. I was bitterly upset when my brother got the coco pops, though, or the frosties. I was a difficult child though. Constantly having tantrums. My grandmother was in charge of the cereal cabinet. It was strange when she died because I didn't remember all that much about her. But every once in a while, I come across memories that I'd forgotten I had, like how we used to play board games with my grandma with names like "Ho Ho Ho (And A Bottle Of Rum)" or the epic Monopoly games she was so good at, or the one-footed rollerskating on the carpet with Elaine, or the breathing on the cold windows and writing my name in the little diamond shapes. Your post helped me to get those back, Wil- thankyou. It's like bringing my grandma and that house back to life again.
And kud0s on the book deal. What really makes me think about what I want to do with my life is reading about people like you. ^_^
Wil, my keyboard's crusting up. I've only just seen this entry tonight, but you wrote it almost a year ago today.
I can really tell how much you love your Aunt Val just by reading this post. Note that I said 'love' not 'loved', because a lot of people make it sound like when someone dies, you stop loving them, and that's not true.
Thanks for reminding me of how valuable life is.
I too got to this post from the "Big Announcement" post, which I linked to from Fark, and I must say, you have an excellent career ahead of you as a writer, and I admire your success as a human.
I too had to bid farewell to such a beloved house, and later, my Grandmother, of whom your description of Aunt Val reminds me. I feel for your loss, as I understand it keenly, and I hope we can succeed in finding places like that for our children to remember.
Keep writing, Wil. You're an impressive dude, and I hope to meet you and work with you some day (aspirations of film making rumbling in background).
My grandfather recently passed on. I know exactly what you mean.
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