Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Dying

Tomorrow we're burying my grandfather. Exactly one week (to the minute) after the memorial service for my friend. I cannot ignore that the events of this week are unfolding through a perspective altered by that prior loss. Two deaths in as many weeks and they are as different in nature as it is possible for them to be.

So, with more assuredness than ever before at such a loss, I can say this about my grandfather's passing:

He lived a long life.

He married, had two beautiful daughters, five grandchildren, five great grandchildren (so far) and almost lived long enough to meet his first great-great grandchild.

He served his country and saw war firsthand. He traveled. He worked most of his life but he had time for his hobbies and passions. He liked to keep busy. He knew what it was to go without but he also enjoyed financial security later on in life. He took pride in the life he built for his family.

He leaves his family behind a lifetime of shared memories and stories. Things he did when we were little. Anecdotes about his quirky habits and hobbies. Nicknames and phrases. Things he always said and the way he would say them. A legacy of warmth and deeply southern sensibility.

He and my grandmother were married for almost 70 years.

He lived a full life.

He knew he was loved.

He was tired and now he can rest.

He was ill and he is no longer in pain.

He was frightened and he has nothing left to fear.

We knew this was coming at some point in the near future.
We were given time to prepare, inasmuch as one can prepare.

...So I am sad at the loss of my grandfather - for myself and my family. That we will no longer see him. But I am not sad for him. I think he's fine. I've never been one to see death as an altogether terrible thing. I think it's more complicated than that. And after mourning a woman who was taken from us after less than a quarter century of life, I cannot feel any injustice in the loss of a man who lived nearly a full century. We should all be so lucky to have the time on this earth that my grandfather had.

I love him and I'll miss having him near, but I know he was ready.

That being said, and with all respect to my much beloved grandparent...

I must say that his timing could use a little work.


  1. I don't know what to say, so I shall offer delicious cake involving bunnies.

  2. I'm sorry. He sounds like he was a wonderful man. Rest in peace.

  3. Aw, Marisa, sorry for your loss.

  4. My condolences on the loss of your grandfather. It sounds like he was quite a person, and had a life filled with love.

  5. I'm sending many positive thoughts to you and your family. One of my favorite quotes is from the 'A Prairie Home Companion' movie: "The death of an old man is not a tragedy." I think about you often, Marisa.

  6. Thank you to everyone! And you're absolutely right, Mal. It's a good quote.

    Thanks for the delicious cake, Larken. ;)

  7. You already know my thoughts, but I just thought I'd tell you again: I'm so sorry.