Thursday, January 3, 2013
Magnificent, that "surely"
My grandfather passed away this week. While it wasn't entirely unexpected, there's a certain depth to the sadness that surrounds a family member's death. Despite his strong 84 years with us, it's still shaking in a fundamental way to lose a lifelong fixture. He felt like a pillar, always there, and always the same.
I've been thinking about his mannerisms and the way he smelled, and most of all, the way he greeted me with "Hey Sug" every single time. Short for Sugar. I remember the last time he said that, earlier this year. Somehow I knew that might be it, and I replayed it over and over in my mind so as not to forget.
His physical decline this year was heartbreaking to watch, but I saw his strength time and time again. He fought after each stroke, as hard as he could, to get a few more months, weeks, moments with the people he loved.
Death teaches us things. I learned that fixtures aren't permanent and that suffering ends. I learned more about my aunt's beautiful spirit and how gifted she is at being a caretaker. I learned that I want to face challenge with the optimism and dedication shown by her and my uncle as they took my grandfather into their home, something that helped us all.
My first thought when we lost him was that he was next to his beautiful wife again. Lucky him. She had the sweetest spirit of all. I know he was thinking about her at my wedding in April, right around the time we took this photo, and I was, too.
May this weekend be about celebration of life, love, and family.
title via the end of John Updike's "Endpoint"