Of Life and Death

Back in May, my fiance and I travelled to my home town to visit my family for my birthday. The trip wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped and I was on edge the whole time, however he got to meet my family and see what I grew up with. For some strange reason, even through all of that, he still wants to marry me.

I’ll never forget sitting at my grandfather’s bedside, clinging to what I figured would be some of the last words he’d speak to me. Somehow I knew it would be the last time I’d see his face. After telling him about my other half and letting them meet, he smiled and said “Gal, maybe you should think about running off to Canada and marrying that boy.” Well, grandpa, that’s the plan. In hindsight, I sometimes wonder if he knew how isolated the family made me feel spmetimes. According to another family member, he did know, stating he was thankful that my father didn’t have any children other than me, noting that my father didn’t treat me the best.

Apparently my grandfather passed away last night. Not hearing from anyone (aside from my stepmom) about the news until much later than the occurrence made me realize just how disconnected from my family I have been, despite my best efforts. I had just spoke to family members hours prior, asking how things were going. I got little response, per the usual. It just gets frustrating. I understand it’s an upsetting situation, but that’s no reason to leave immediate family out of the loop. I get it, my father can be a real challenge most of the time. I don’t deserve to be the black sheep because of it.

I’ve been expecting my grandfather’s death for as long as I can remember. He saw his 85th birthday at the start of this year. I’ve heard the phrase “this will likely be Grandpa’s last Christmas” for almost two decades. He’s seen wars, multiple medical catastrophies, and a lifetime of chaos. It’s been a roller coaster. The last several years of his life have been grim, lacking a great deal of quality of life. I’m thankful he’s no longer suffering. I’ve always had a different perspective on life and death than most.

Then I was faced with a conundrum: did I want to go to the funeral? Most of my family would expect me to support them, yet has hardly done the same for me. Plus plane tickets on short notice are almost $3,000 USD. And that’s assuming that I’d get clearance to be admitted back into Canada since I’m not supposed to leave until all of my visa stuff is finalized. Surprisingly my father suggested to not worry myself with it. I’d made peace with my grandfather’s passing years before it happened. I had closure already. He didn’t want me to travel down there to the chaos going on, potentially jeopardizing my future and my life. And ya know? That may have been the most loving and wholesome thing he’s ever said. And while no, I probably won’t make it to the funeral, at least it’ll be in part because I’m out doing what my grandfather suggested for me to do.

Regardless, my grandfather hung around for a lot longer than any man in his condition should have. I’m happy that he’s no longer confined to the pain that the end of this life brought him, and may he find peace in wherever the next life takes him.

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