My grandfather died today. A somber way to start a post, it’s what July 14, 2011 has been about.
81. Married. Well-traveled. Kids. Grandkids. Veteran. Semi-professional baseball player. Great sense of humor. A good, good man. Loved a lot, loved by a lot.
A conversation among a few family members the other night struck a nerve with me. Are you afraid of death? Our answers were all over the map. Dying too young? Dying suddenly? Dying through a long and painful process? Depending on who in the room was talking, the anxiety equally ranged. Did the calmer person already know the name and face of the husband or wife who would appear in his or her obituary? Yes. Did those of us with vital milestones afar, questions unanswered, boxes left unchecked feel a little more anxiety stricken? Yes. Did priorities start temporarily and irrationally switching places? Maybe.
I talked to my Grandpa two days before he passed away. A good, good conversation, the exact details of which don’t need to be in any blog to be remembered. And they won’t be.
But the way he held my eye contact. Squeezed my hand when we talked about the kids. Made the greatest “You’re kidding!” sounding exclamation, loud and urgent, when I told him I’d spent time with a nice, “handsome as you” boy (Quack, you asked how you get in the blog, I said do something crazy- Grandpa Ed qualified that as going on a date two).
It was as perfect as a goodbye could be.
It’s days like today where I think a lot of people question exactly what they’re doing at the moment. If the story of my life was put in the paper today, what would it say? Would I be proud of it? Would it require lines of detail or a short, generic blurb? Is there anything I can do tonight, by tomorrow, that will make it better?
There’s the idealistic “fantasies that could become real” bucket list. Publish a book and go on a book tour. Stand on every continent. Get pulled on stage at a major concert. Get married, have kids. Let’s hope that’s less fantasy/more reality. Be on the Today Show for a good reason.
Okay that’s not really one, but I’ve discovered a bucket list item is now to write a better bucket list.
But its the everyday things and dreams that are the foundation of my life. Laughing so hard I cry, even if it’s at a wildly inappropriate time or because I unintentionally just made a painfully awkward comment. Helping someone out, whether it’s giving them a hand or an ear. Singing loudly in my car because I can. Every, every day. Multiple times.
The things that can’t be a constant but can happen at any moment. Being surprised. Surprising someone. Busting a move in a crowded space. Slow-dancing in a quiet setting. Trying something new. Mastering something old. Being fiercely, hopelessly, independent. Falling madly, hopelessly, in love.
That I know I’m doing right.