Though he has been having health problems for some time, his death came unexpectedly. On the way to the car after the family brunch last Saturday, he became dizzy and fell on his oxygen tank, cracking a rib. The rib pierced his spleen. He had lost half of his blood by the time the helicopter carried him to the hospital. His last few hours were lived for him by a machine, but as he didn't want to be kept alive in that way, he was allowed to pass away Sunday around noon.
He will be missed by his four sons and one daughter, and also by me, his eldest granddaughter, and his other grandchildren. Though it could be difficult to be close to him, I still regret that I drifted even further from him in the last few years, and I feel deeply for my dad, uncles, and aunt, who are really struggling with the loss. I'm glad I was able to see him last week at Thanksgiving, and I'm glad I'll be able to travel from California to join my family and play a piano piece for his funeral, since he enjoyed listening to me play.
Though everybody has heard it countless times before, I would like to share the poem that has been idling in my mind since I heard the news. For me it captures the stillness of death, and the potential for respite in it, nicely. Since my grandpa used to enjoy reading poetry to me, perhaps he would have appreciated the association.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.