My grandfather passed away this morning. He had emphysema for years and had taken a turn for the worse in the past couple months, so we saw this coming. My mom has been down there since last weekend, and I’m heading down tomorrow.
The last time I went to a funeral of someone I knew was when I was five for my great grandmother. I am extremely lucky that my other three grandparents are still living, so this will be a first for me. For the moment, I am not feeling very emotional, but that’s likely to change once I get there. A 30 minute drive back from my home to my townhouse, I got very pensive:
What’s the meaning in life? Unsure that there is some external source to give meaning, I like the hypothosis that it is somehow based on relationships. To me there’s elegance in the recursive nature of something like that: life gives meaning to other lives. We’ve bootstrapped our way into something meaningful.
I tell people about my grandfather and they say that they are very sorry to hear it. What is the appropriate response? I suppose thank you. (I’m not very good at these things.) Appreciation for their concern is what I would like to show. I’ve been trying to mitigate it, saying that we saw it coming and so forth; much like I did at the beginning of the post.
The whole thing has got me thinking of the giant snowball that is life. It keeps rolling, and though some pass away, everyone else keeps hurtling forward whether they like it or not. I imagine a snowball because some people are insulated at the center and can forget that humanity involves a tremendous numbers of births and deaths, ups and downs, every day. Others are bombarded with the grim reality that, at least in the physical world, we are just complex systems robust in some ways and delicate in others. How different their lives must be than my own. To them it it might seem to be a long march, that everyone begins at one point and ends at another.
And – the thing I never could have expected – the death of my grandmother has changed my perspective in so many ways that I actually feel like a different person. So different that it feels strange to be writing right now. Like I don’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to say. I feel like I’ve forgotten what my favorite color is (assuming I previously had one).
I’m not as close to my grandfather as Rory was to his grandmother, but I wonder how much his death will affect me. (I left that present tense in, in honor of the two previous ones I “corrected.”) Will I be more motivated to do what’s important to me instead of wasting time? Odds are against it, sadly, because I’ve thought that many times in the past. I did manage to post today though, forgoing the relatively unimportant task of catching up on reading.
Maybe I’ll just appreciate people more. I called some people who I hadn’t talked to in a while today, but I just wanted to talk to them, without mentioning my grandfather. I spoke to others, and wanted them to know. It’s kind of like #3.
If you’ve read this far, I sincerely thank you. I am genuinely curious about what your thoughts are.