Almanac Life: The Grandfather




I am wheeled into the recovery room, having just had a minor surgical procedure. (I am fine, but thanks for asking). The nurses assist me as I drunkenly shuffle down from the gurney and onto a chair. My head feels like it weighs a ton. There is something disconcerting and uneasy about the period when one emerges, Rip van Winkle-like, from the fog of general anaesthetic. Clad in my surgical gown, I am the only person in the silent room. I find myself blinking unnaturally, desperately urging myself to re-join the land of the living. Otherwise, I feel surprisingly well (thanks again for asking).


The nurse informs me that my wife is waiting to take me home, but not until the surgeon speaks with me.


A younger man is wheeled into the room and performs a gurney-to-chair shuffle similar to mine. We nod to each other, silently acknowledging the mistiness from which we are emerging together. He has reached for his phone and quietly scans the screen. Only moments later, he appears to be weeping but I cannot be certain. I am still not thinking straight.


The nurse re-emerges and makes a bee-line for the other man. She is puzzled by his emotional state and inquires if he is still battling the effects of the anaesthetic. He shakes his head slowly and sadly. I can sense that something is not right. “My grandfather in India just passed away while I was asleep,” he answers. “He had Covid.”


She grabs his hand and strokes it. Nurses really are wonderful, instinctive people. I say nothing. I have always been awkward when in the presence of someone experiencing grief. Aren’t most people? But anyway, I do not even know this fellow.


The surgeon enters the recovery room, speaks to me briefly and bids me farewell. But I am distracted. My thoughts are with the man across from me who has been transported from a medical procedure straight into mourning. What do you say to that?


Behind the curtain, I dress myself and prepare to depart. I nod to the man in an attempt to convey my condolences. He nods to me.


“How are you feeling?” asks my wife.


“This coronavirus is a bastard,” I reply.



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Absolutely horrifying and very saddening what is happening in India. Feel for that young man and for everyone who has relatives and friends suffering back on the sub-continent.

    Good to get that post-season surgery done early Smokie, no doubt you’ll be back firing by the time cricket pre-season comes around. Hope you’re well mate.

  2. Roger Lowrey says

    “The life and death of each of us has an influence on others.” (Paul to the Romans).

    Glad to hear the grease and oil change went smoothly Smokie.


  3. Daryl Schramm says

    Another superb contribution Darren. So succinctly and aptly ended.

  4. Great piece Smokie.

  5. Hope you’re on the improve Smokie. Among other grim imagery I was shocked to learn that the Indian authorities gave permission for more trees to be felled so they can attempt to keep up with the required cremations. Staggering.

  6. Jarrod_L says

    Geez that struck hard Smoke – what a horrific time we are witness to and what awful timing for the young bloke…

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