My grandfather was an active, loving, silly, and wonderful man. Although he was eighty-three years old at the time of his death, it was still a shock. He could no longer stand the pain, the feeling of helplessness because of his declining health, and in the end, he did it his way. He chose to end his life with a shot to the heart, the place where his love for his family stemmed.
I was never angry. I’ve personally struggled with mental illness and the burden it brings to those who love me. I understood his reasoning, his plan. Even so, it’s taken quite some time to move forward from the grief and pain of his loss. It hurt every day to remember that this wonderful man, who had always been a meaningful part of my life, was gone. I could never again tell him I loved him or give him a hug. I would visit my grandmother, his wife for over 60 years, and expect him to come into the room.
His physical presence is missing, but I’ve found solace in the truth that he will never be gone. He is with me, my sister, my mom, my aunts, my grandmother. We all have a part of him, and I can visit him whenever I choose. There are still moments of sadness, but I see the bigger picture, the larger meaning. His love, his kindness, his life, it lives on in me. I am grateful to be his granddaughter.