February began with my grandfather passing away on January 30th. I know that’s a couple of days early, but it’s the sort of thing you think about for a while. I travelled back to Vancouver on Saturday the 6th to attend the funeral on Monday the 9th, and then took a red-eye flight back that evening. In-between, I spent a lot of time with my family and slept on the couch in the living room, because the basement had recently flooded (a water main under the townhouse complex broke) and everything salvageable had been moved into my room.
I determined, midway through the funeral (which was intentionally kept small), that I didn’t really need it. What I really needed was just to be near my family. In particular, I needed to talk with my dad about his memories and how we were both feeling. The ceremony was nice, but it didn’t really change anything for me—my grandfather had died, and I would just need time to accept that I won’t see him again.
In case you’re wondering, he died of an abdominal aneurism (yep, they’re not just in the brain). He had been diagnosed with it last summer, and we were told that the artery could burst in days or years. He was too frail for surgery, but would go quickly and without too much suffering. It turns out that we was awake at the end—not sleeping as I originally thought—and had been made comfortable. So as deaths go, it was a good one. He accomplished a lot in his life, and it was time to go.
As for me, I realized one minor regret, which is that he never got to see me golf. My grandfather was an avid golfer and taught my brother to play, but my dad and I didn’t start until years later. I used to joke that dad and I were the only ones who didn’t have the “golf gene” since my brother and uncle play, but it turns out that my dad didn’t play due to uncontrollable allergies when he was younger. I know that my grandfather was pleased that I learned to play a few years ago, but he was too weak to come out with us (even to sit in the golf cart) by the time I started. I suppose if I’d thought about it, I might have made a point of it—even just going to a driving range with him and my dad.
But such is life, and in the end it makes no real difference whether or not he saw me play. What really matters is that he knew I’ve come to enjoy golf as much as he did, and—more importantly—that he didn’t have to worry about me. He knew me as a capable adult, in control of my life and able to handle whatever comes at me. And I’m thankful for that.