Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dealing with death a world apart

A million miles from anything, the pain feels the same. The heart skips a beat and then drops to the floor, the mind wondering 'But now? So soon? But I was just there a week ago and he looked okay'. The comfort of family lies oceans apart, the hugs turning into pantomiming I love yous via webcam, with a finger pointing towards the eye, then forming a heart with two cupped hands and then an outstretched finger towards the camera. All the while tears fall down faces, being caught by keyboards and faux-wooded desktops. It's all that can be done in replacement of the embrace one usually gets in cases of tragedy where one lives on the other side of the world. It feels okay, I guess, the pantomiming of love, it's better than nothing, I suppose; but the warmth of a good hug can't come across through a plastic computer monitor and sometimes that's all a person needs. The un-hugged traveling heart, outside of its home-boundaries, feels out of place. The heart has a responsibility to be home, beside the dying, the sick, the dead, because the legacy deserves the remembrance. If I could, I would be there, like I was for the holidays. Except it wouldn't be the same, because you, my great-grand Griffith, wouldn't be there. I wouldn't be helping you open your pocket knife as the presents fell from your lap. I wouldn't be admiring your quiet and gentle demeanor, how did you do it all these years? So maybe it's better that I stay here across the world, so I'll remember you as you were, instead of that shell lying in a box. A man lost is a man lost, his life gone from his bones. The spirit is somewhere beautiful, if only in the minds of those that loved him, cascading about through the spongey material like a ballerina's glissade atop cumulus clouds. I see those clouds everyday here. You're closer than I thought.

My Great-Grandpa Griffith passed away Monday evening. I gratefully spent the holidays in his company, knowing it very well might have been my last, and it was sadly. He was ready to go. Is that a heartless thing to say? But he was. He often times didn't want to upset my grandma, his caretaker, so he would often deal with the pain in preference to disturbing the peace. Now he has reached the ultimate peace, no more shoveling sidewalks despite his bad back or mowing lawns because it was always his job. It's his time to rest now, while others carry on the journey. Growing up, he has always been in my memory as that man in the background, laughing softly to himself as he sits in his chair, not saying much but always there. He was the omniscient character who saw everything and gave advice where needed. He was strong and committed, gentle and loving. The last thing I remember him saying to me was, "How great it is to have you here". How wonderful his hard-strained voice sounded saying those words. It was me, though, that was grateful to be in his presence. I always wished he would've told me more about himself and his journey through life. I suppose, though, that his journey is told through the loved ones surrounding me, through his living legacy in which I'm apart of. I'm thankful for that and for how long I've been able to be with him on this spinning blue-green speck in the universe.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss. It is probably pretty difficult to process it while you are so far away, but it sounds like you have a genuine understanding and appreciation for life and death... very inspiring.