Grandpa is dead. Grandpa is dead. Grandpa is dead.
He was alive two weeks ago today. He had less than twenty- four hours until he was un- alive. None of us were too surprised, but you are never really prepared for the death of a loved one. Grandpa, the patriarch of the family, was no longer with us- the hurt ran deep.
Grandpa is dead and I have feared death recently. I feared the void of his existence: never again seeing his blue eyes I always envied, never again hearing his voice telling me to never set my drink down at a party, never again hugging him and inhaling the scent of his leather flight jacket, never again being warmed by his big cheesy grin. Since the beginning of summer. I had begun to see the world in an unfamiliar way and it was scary. I cried for hours the last time I prayed, the time I accepted that no one could hear me, let alone intervene or offer divine comfort. I inconsolably laid in bed weeping for hours over a friend whose father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I unnecessarily cried over a character’s death in my favorite television show. It knew it was ridiculous, but I could not control it. I imagined myself as the son of a sick father, the wife of a murdered husband… These were the musings that kept me up at night, woke me in the morning, confronted my walking to work. It was debilitating. It hurt those around me. It hindered my own progress as a person. It was bad.
Grandpa is dead… The words still cut deep and a sob erupted every time I thought it. A loved one, who was already too burdened by my fear of death, let me find rest in his arms and quieted my gasping for air. He was the only one who could calm me, and I forever thank him for that.
The funeral came and passed. Nearly five hundred people filled up a church to honor my grandpa. I peaked around at all of the unfamiliar faces and felt proud to have within my veins the blood of a man who had influenced so many. The man left this earth with nothing else to give. He lived fully and died empty. I thought then, that is how I would like to die. But to do so, I needed to release my fear of death, so that I could truly live. I made a resolution sitting in that pew to relinquish desire of control over things that are impossible for me to have control over, and start living as I had only a few months earlier: strong, stubborn, and smiling.
Grandpa is dead. My first death with my newfound, developing beliefs.
Grandpa is dead. I let my brain roll over this fact while I was still going through the motion of everyday life. Then I spoke the words aloud, at first in a whisper, letting my mouth form the syllables and taste the truth of them.
Grandpa is dead. Not so long ago, J and Siddhartha introduced me to the concept of saṃsāra. Last Sunday I walked home from work. At first I was dismayed by the thirty- three blocks and hours of homework that lay before me, after such a long, restless weekend. “Grandpa is dead,” I chanted to the beat of my heeled shoes click- clacking, contemplating my grandpa’s life and death and saṃsāra. My voice grew sturdier. I noticed a snail in my path and moved from the sidewalk to the grass, and I found strength and rest for the first time in a while.
The strength found that night is really being tested right now, and I feel very weak at times. Rest hasn’t come easy, but it is coming. The world is still turning. The river is still flowing, changing, renewing. I find my rest there, in the thought that the end is just another beginning.