So my last living grandparent passed on this past weekend. Oddly, I don’t feel any different than I did before, and looking back, that was the case with all my grandparents. This seemed odd to me at first, considering all the folks mourning, until I thought about it some, and I think there’s a few factors here, some of which deserve to be looked at.
First, there’s the matter of how often I interacted with them. My grandparents on my Dad’s side moved several states away when he retired, and on top of that I was in college at the time. As such, I barely saw them much after they moved out there before they passed on.
My grandparents on my mom’s side lived a lot closer, but they were still about a half hour to 45 minutes away, and combined with my usual business I didn’t see them much either. I still going to have all the memories, but I hadn’t seen much of either before they passed on in the end.
What really then is the difference between moving out of touch somewhere and moving on from this life? Emotionally for me, I think that it feels like they just happened to move to somewhere where I can’t reach them is all, and they’re not truly gone. It’s even in the phrase, passing on.
Which brings us to the second aspect, what death means. For me death is an ending but also a new beginning. There is a picture I commissioned before which unintentionally did a good job of bringing out that feeling.
The color pallette and lighting gave me a feeling of a old worn foxdragon moving on into the afterlife, but pausing to look back one last time at what he’s leaving behind. When death comes naturally, as it did in all their cases, this is how I feel it should be. A laying down of burdens, and of moving on to greater delights and serenity.
Which then comes back around to the third part of it all, mourning itself. The funeral was a somber but not overly sad ceremony, but it did make me think. A lot of times the sadness and such is a reflection on the people left behind looking on what they have lost, rather than a celebration of the life that person lived, or that they have been released form whatever pain and suffering they may have been experiencing.
Me, I’d think I’d prefer something more along the lines of a wake. Celebrate the life they lived, and raise your glasses to what they’ve left behind. Celebrate their life rather than mourn their death.
I think in the end that’s why I’m not too torn up about it all – they’ve moved on to Heaven or whatever the afterlife may hold, and they passed on when it was their time, a life fully lived. Whether they’re 1200 miles away or a dimension away, they still exist in the hearts of every person who cared for them. The body has been returned to the earth it came from, and their souls have moved on to the great beyond.
And someday, just like in the picture above, I will rejoin them. Someday, in the sea of stars…