My Granddad passed away Sunday night.
It all feels like a blur. I’ve listened to my sister cry on the phone, I listened to my Dad’s calm and collected voice when he called and I heard myself scream inside.
I was two months away from going to visit again. Two months. And then, within two days he just left us. I am crushed that I couldn’t be at the hospital, that I couldn’t hold his hand one last time.
My sister and I were very close with my Granddad. We spent a whole lot of time at his house when we were kids. He lived close by and was always very present in our lives.
In the last few years, whenever I had to get on a plane again after a visit home, he was afraid that he wasn’t going to see me again. I told him to “not be silly” and that he was going to live for a long, long time and that we were going to see each other very soon. Just last week he had told me how excited he was that it was “not very long until” I was going to come home. I joked with him about how quick time goes and that I’d be there before he knew it. And then sometimes, time goes quicker.
He passed away in his sleep, without any pain, without any fear. I couldn’t ask for a better way for him (or anyone) to die. I am sure my Grandma was waiting for him on the other side (or, I’d like to think she did).
I am glad he didn’t wake up again just to find himself completely impaired and robbed of all human dignity. I wouldn’t have wanted that for him, he wouldn’t have wanted that for himself.
He was a strong, stubborn and proud man who had survived WWII, who raised two wonderful sons, who lived and cared for himself in his own home until he died. He also was an active member in the community. My sister called this morning and told me jokingly, “You won’t believe the list of people that he left behind, who are supposed to be contacted upon his death. It’s like a 10-page paper”. Yes, my Granddad was well-liked and well-connected.
J had joked about my Granddad’s old-schoolish “stubbornness” many times, but by his reaction to his death yesterday, I could tell that he as well deeply admired him.
One thing that hit me yesterday – and excuse me, if that might seem quite obvious to you – was: My dad lost his dad. He was the last actual grandparent that my sister and I had left. My Dad’s Mom died a long time ago when we were only six years old. My Dad was barely 33 when it happened. He was so young. How was he able to deal with losing his Mom at such a young age? Now, that he is 60 himself, does he feel different about losing his dad? Does it get “easier” when you get older? Or do you learn more acceptance of the inevitable?
The only thing I know is that I am terrified of losing my parents some day.
I’ll be getting on a plane on Wednesday, so that I can be home and attend my Granddad’s funeral on Friday. He deserves for me to be there. I know it’s one hell of a trip, but I need to be with my family right now.
Love you, Granddad!