That was the first thing I thought. Then I cried.
I hate death. The finality of a relationship and how you leave it is too much responsibility. It's the cliff at the end. You're left standing while the person before you leaps--or falls--and disappears. It's sad and achey and the feelings are too painfully familiar. Every new end reminds me of all the other people I've lost--some suddenly and some slowly, knowingly, people drifting farther away until one day they've reached their end. And I'm left standing here, looking around, wondering if anyone else notices that all I have left are thin glossy pictures sticking to my hand.
If I had to choose which way to know about death--about how someone leaves--I would choose life. Because for me it is slightly less painful, less final, and new stories are created, and people grow and grow old. But it eventually ends in some form or fashion. I am left sorting through the memories and stories, sketching out the bookends and dusting them off, because they are now clearer than they have ever been before.
Funerals are a peculiar thing and I suppose they are just as much a part of life as the process of dying itself. The bodies disappear, people congregate and disperse. Tears and laughter mix quietly in the background, trying hard not to disturb each other. They are meetings at the intersections of life, they are a door into my reality. Because my grandfather passed away this evening, I'm remembering all that is absent as I schedule my flight.
Today I heard a voice on the TV say, "What everybody wants to know is: did you see me? did you hear me, and did it mean anything to you?" So, Abuelo Jon, you meant something to me. I heard you at different times, and what you said--both loudly and silently--has made a difference.
If the end happens to be as I once imagined it, tell my dad I said hi.