honoring and celebrating amidst the stress

A little over a week ago, my grandfather passed away. He was 95 (and half). I haven’t said much about it online because I wasn’t quite sure what to say — what words would be enough.*

It feels like so much has happened this month already. One stress to another, just compiling all on top of each other. And while I wouldn’t say the passing of my grandfather is necessarily stressful, in comparison to the others, but the flood of emotions is definitely taxing. It’s all just unfortunate timing.

So now, amidst unpacking and setting up my new apartment, I’m now scouring through my closet trying to find an appropriate dress for the funeral. Yes, I have a handful of black dress, and yes, even some of them are nice. But I do not want to wear black for mourning. I want to find something that celebrates his life — which is a lot to put on one dress. If I had a yellow one, I’d wear it. It was his favorite color, though really just one we could see properly.

Oh, what a start to the year. There’s just a lot of conflicting emotions. Just under two years ago, we weren’t sure how long he’d be with us. But he surprised us all. Living on with only one kidney at 20% functionality. My visits home to see him were generally always good. You could tell age was catching up with him, definitely. But around me, he always seemed somewhat fine, given all the circumstances. I had gotten used to the idea that grandpa was just too stubborn to go. In fact, at Christmas he declared he decided he would live to be 100. I didn’t really doubt or question it — though life wasn’t perfect for him, at the rate he was going I assumed he might.

And so it’s been hard to come to terms with the fact that he actually isn’t here any more. I mean, he will always be with me in some manner of speaking for the rest of my life… But still. Grandpa has passed. And though I hate the term “moving on” in regards to such circumstances… I will indeed as one must, continue to live, and do so hoping that I honor him.

He’s the first grandparent that I’ve lost, and one that I was quite close to. I’ve had the misfortune of already losing a parent, my late stepmom — mother to my half sisters. It’s hard losing people who have such influence over your life. I wish I could have spent more time with him. Though, yes, I am grateful for all the memories we share. My choice to move to Chicago put distance between myself and my family. But I can’t regret it, and I cannot play games of “what if.”

I love my grandfather, and miss him terribly — more than I’ll allow myself to admit. He was a good man; stubborn and sometimes grumpy, but we loved him all the same. He helped shape much of who I am today. And I will always carry him with me.

Glen Edwin S.

*I have, however, written a eulogy — sort of as a process of healing, but mostly in honor — which I will be posting here on the day of the funeral. It will also be read at the memorial service.