Sunday evening, I got a call from my mom that my grandfather (my dad's dad) passed away. We've been somewhat expecting this for over a year now, but it was surprising all the same. I didn't know him very well, since he lived in Missouri and I have always lived in Texas, but I knew him better maybe than my other two grandfathers.
Death, in a way, fascinates me. It begs the question--what is life? When the stuff with Terri Schiavo was going on, people discussed a lot about what life is and when death comes. Is it when the heart stops beating? the brain stops waving? the personality withers? the soul departs?
My grandfather had been cold for a day or so. My grandmother was warming his blankets in the microwave Sunday afternoon. When she came back, he was gone. The night before, they might have talked about my cousins or the weather or some friends. Now, there is nothing to talk about. My father has been trying desperately for several years to hang on to whatever relationship he and his father had. Now, there is nothing to hold onto. My brother has been bitter toward my dad's parents since I was in junior high. Now, forgiveness in the interpersonal sense is too late; he can only let his own hurt and bitterness go without ever knowing what kind of relationship he could have had. There are so many things my grandfather will never know or experience. He'll never see my nephew grow up. When I graduated college, he was so proud; but he'll never get to see my graduate law school. He'll never see my brother licensed as a master plumber. He'll never see the Royals make it to another World Series or the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl. He'll never know if Bill Ford's successor will do any good or get the retirees their good health benefits back. He and my grandmother supported the ACLJ and probably against gay marriage. Now he'll never see what'll happen with that.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: although it's cliché, life is short and death is unexpected. One day you're playing bridge and complaining about the company taking away your prescription drug coverage; the next day you don't even need prescription drugs. Life's too short to hurry. Suck the marrow out of life.
I promise: next post, less philosophizing.