There have been a lot of things this past week that I've wanted to write about. The 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and how Buzz Aldrin's rallying cry to push onward to Mars is a gleaming rocket of hope to outer space dreamers like myself. The collapse of DC's last free-form/guy talk station and how it very oddly relates to a short story I've been working on the past month. Or how it looks like I'll be finally moving into a new position at work.
But I shoved everything else to the side when I got the word that my grandpa passed away. His health has been heading downward for a long while now, and he's been in hospice care for the last six months. Although it wasn't a surprise, exactly, it still stung a good bit.
My dad ask me to write an "appreciation page" to handout at his memorial gathering later today. I was happy to, although I was somewhat mystified about how to sum up his life in 500 words or less. Do I write about my memories, and how much I appreciate his willingness to raise me when my own parents weren't able? That I loved the fact that the sweet smell of pipe tobacco clung to him years after he quit smoking? Or that I was always amazed by the magical way he seemed to make friends everywhere he went? My first draft was over six pages and I felt like I was holding back. In the end I just stuck to the bare facts and came up with something that I hope people will like.
He wasn't a war hero. He didn't create great art. He didn't start his own company----in fact, his father's business fell apart when he took over. But he was, and always will be, the measure of what makes a great man in my mind. I know in a rational sense that he was in pain and that death at this point was probably the best thing for him. But I have an aching spot inside me that misses him and I know that spot will ache the the rest of my life.