honorary Hose Monster:
My grandfather died almost a year ago. It was the first time anyone who I had ever known at all closely had passed away.
I don’t cry very often. In fact, I can count the number of times that I have cried in the last five years on two fingers. But my grandfather’s passing caused me to weep a little. But not in the way that I was expecting. Sure, the news of his death saddened me, but in truth I was really quite prepared for his death and took it as something of a blessing.
Anyway, I flew home, we had a memorial service on the Pacific outside of Newport harbor and we scattered his ashes at sea. Still no tears. But while returning to the harbor, I was standing on the bow of the boat, silently reflecting, when my dad walked up to me, stood on my left side and put his hand on my shoulder. And that’s when I lost it. I maybe cried for 30 seconds. But I will always remember that snapshot in passing.
I think the hardest part of the experience of my grandfather’s prolonged deterioration and death was watching my dad struggle with the decline and passing of his father. I would guess that I understand something of what my dad was feeling in that I see my father as an absolute rock. For all the things that he might not be, he is the most profoundly wonderful individual as a parent, as a child and an adult, and as a person to himself. And he is very strong.
I think my father saw his father that same way. Being confronted with the proof that his dad is not impervious really caused him to struggle. And seeing my father struggle caused me to struggle.
Yes, there is a point to all of this. My parents and I just watched Life as a House. Good film, features two songs by my favorite band. My dad saw this movie a few weeks after my grandfather’s passing, and it really upset him. Not in a bad way, but just in a way that hit close to home with him. Tonight my mother asked him if he would be okay watching it. He assented.
At the end of the film, he very quietly stood up, walked out of the room, grabbed a tissue and blew his nose. My mother then walked off camera, and in the kitchen I am guessing she hugged him for a few moments. Then he took the dogs outside for a brief walk and that was that.
I’m not sure why I write about this now. But in these actions rests something that means a lot to me. And moments like the few tonight will remain in my memory for a long time to come. Very simple and yet very complex.