George Wong, 1923-2009

My grandfather passed away early on Saturday morning in BC. He was surrounded by family when he died, in a hospital. He had been in a long-term care home since last summer, and had been doing fine when I saw him in August and December. Apparently he had some stomach pain on Friday night and it got to the point where they took him to the hospital, where they decided that he wasn’t strong enough to operate on.

I found out the next morning while helping to set up for a fundraising gala for Leadership Waterloo Region. My dad called me to give me the news, and I didn’t really hear much of it at the time. It was a brief call, and then I went back to work while I sorted things out in my head. Shortly after I left to have lunch with some close friends whom I told. Then I ran some errands and went home to get ready for the gala.

I chose not to tell many people at the gala, as I didn’t want to spoil the mood. After all, it’s not like this was a tragedy. My grandfather lived to 85, and had a pretty full life. He got to know his five grandchildren and his great-grandson, and there have been times over the past few years where I thought he might be leaving us soon.

Also, I had a lot to do at the event and I didn’t want people checking on me or asking how I’m doing or wondering if my need to keep moving and be helpful during events like this was a coping mechanism. I suppose maybe it was, but mostly it’s just what I like to do. Near the end of the event I let some of my friends on the organizing committee know the score though, as well as some coworkers who attended the gala.

And by the way, it was a great event–I’m really glad to have been a part of it, and it would have been a shame to miss it. As trite as it is to say, my grandfather wouldn’t want that. So I enjoyed myself, and in the quiet moments I thought about him. I tried to look for regrets, and I found none. I had a good conversation with him the last time I saw him, and I know he was proud of me.

My grandfather will be cremated and there won’t be a viewing. The ceremony will be roughly mid-February, so there’s no hurry for me to fly out to Vancouver, as I originally thought might be the case.

All that being said, please know that I appreciate your sympathies, but you needn’t post comments or send me e-mails offering your condolences. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful–there’s just no need for it. I’m doing just fine, and this is part of life, albeit a sad part. I’m not looking for sympathy, just a memory of my grandfather.