Sometimes people get better. Sometimes they don't, and we have to say goodbye. We said goodbye to my grandfather a week ago Wednesday. I flew down to Florida earlier on the same day. Little Thorn was in tow. I saw grandpa alive, one last time, but he barely looked like the man I have known all my life. Thin, pained, his breathing shallow, my grandpa, once so vigorous, so engaged, waited for his body to admit defeat. It is not something I think he did easily. Death has knocked on my grandpa's door more than once in his eighty years of life. But, in the end, we all die. Avoidance is temporary. Eighty years is long. One hundred years still wouldn't have been long enough. Thorn got to say goodbye, too, although he didn't know it at the time. There were many tears, though none of them mine. I've said goodbye to two grandpas now, and I still haven't cried. I don't really know why. Everyone else did, even my father. Maybe someday it will hit me, and I will weep. Right now, though, I write.
Grandpa did not want to be buried, and so according to his wishes he was cremated and his ashes spread around the grounds of his Floridian church-home. The funeral service, which I could not attend, I am told was beautiful and fitting for my grandfather. I am glad. There is power in ceremony, in ritual, and funerals can help to close relationships, just as marriages can begin them.
I have also seen the strength of my family through this, and the strength of my grandmother. There were tears, but there was also laughter. Stories were swapped. Tales of sorrow, of joy, of humor, and of foolishness were traded around the tables of my grandmother's small home. Grandpa would have been happy. He will be missed.
All love to you, Grandpa.
Porto, portas, portat.