Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Back at home this weekend, my family will be attending a screening of a documentary made about a very important environmental law that my grandfather passed while he was governor. I wish I could be with them; I wish even more that he could be with them.

I have been away from my blog for a long time, and a lot has happened in that time. One of the most notable – and definitely the saddest – is that Grandpa finally passed away a few months ago at 94 and ½ years old. I wasn’t able to go home for the funeral or memorial service – so it has been a long grieving process for me. It is easier to pretend someone hasn’t died when you aren’t used to seeing him regularly – but that makes accepting and dealing with his death a more drawn out process. I can forget – most of the time – that he is dead and imagine him back in his home, but then when I think about going home and realize that he won’t be there, it hits me and I cry and cry.

I know I should have been prepared for this; after all, no one lives forever. He was in his mid 90s – several years past the life expectancy for an American Male, but he just kept hanging on and in fairly good health, so I managed to delude myself that he’d be around for a few more years.

He didn’t suffer for months or lie around like a vegetable deteriorating for a long time – and I am happy for him in this. That is not how he would have liked to spend the last months/years of his life. He was pretty lucid up to the end. When I was there this past October, he was fit enough that he even managed to attend a political rally. So his death came about relatively quickly, a week or two before he passed on he suffered a series of small strokes and he weakened quickly.

I guess the one thing that bothers me the most is that I didn’t speak to him before he died. I never cashed the cheque he sent me for Christmas either – I am kind of glad I didn’t – I like to look at his scrawled signature – the last thing he sent me before he died.

After his death, they ran many articles about him the local papers – and even in the New York Times. Some of those articles told stories about him that I hadn’t ever heard before.

He was well respected, and for a good reason. There are not many people who would give up lucrative careers to stand up for what they believe to be right, but that’s what he did. He chose the honourable path, not the most profitable one – and I’m immensely proud to be his grand daughter and feel blessed to have known him… and I miss him so very much.

I love you Grandpa.

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