Monday, January 19, 2004

I was awoken a few minutes ago by the call which said that my grandfather is dead.

I don't really know how to feel about it. I'm compulsed to do something useful about it. But death is one of those events about which very little useful can be done. Wise people learn from death their limitations and the limitations of man.

I won't feign a lot of closeness to my grandpa. I've seen him all my life; I can't count the times we've nodded hello. And though I feel I should be sad because I really didn't know the man, somehow I'm not. I'm only sad because he had to suffer. I'm sad because the people around him had to suffer.

But it seems right that he should die. He was an old man and sick. And all people die. It's right that all people should die. Though I'll often wail to the sky about the injustice of everything, I know that in the end that it's right. I know that even painful things like this are right and, damn it all, ultimately good.

I hope my grandfather had a happy life. I hope that he really knew who he was. I hope he made the right choices. I hope he was a good man and in the summation of things I hope that he can be called a good and faithful servant.

I'm glad thinking about how all this has happened. Prolonged illness is never nice. But my grandfather's particular case brought about a lot of positive ends.

It was because grandpa was sick that my brother in prison got to give him a final call the other day; had grandpa's illness been shorter, or had Tony been out on the streets, there wouldn't have been any way to contact Tony to let him know.

It was because grandpa was sick that my grandmother finally started to realize how good and worthy my mother is. How tough she is, and how good it can be to trust her.

And because he was sick, my grandfather had to let drop his pride and learn to rely on others for the first time in his life; Lord knows that the need to rely on others is the bane of the existence of everyone in my family. But my grandfather learned how to do it in the end. And I hope when I learn that lesson, I can do it as gracefully.

Before the end, we have to have all things revealed to us. And I hope what I saw in my grandfather's sharp blue eyes these last days was a growing recognition of truth. I hope that all that fierceness was a reflection of the brutality of grace.

I know that when we die we go to something bigger. Tonight, I'm going to try to be happy for my grandpa. And I'm going to go to sleep hoping that I can somehow make myself of use. Hoping that I can help to dull some of the pain that comes with getting used to the fact that he's not here any more.