My grandfather passed away on 1st May 2013. It was a shock to everyone who knew him. For an old man in his late seventies, it was clear to everyone, he was really healthy and active. He got sick a month or so before his death and he never recovered from it.
Auto-immunity disorder, they said, and his immunity system was failing. It did not seem that bad initially. The nightmare truly started in the last week of it all. There was a host of other problems popping up; they were all problems that he never had before. The vessels connecting to his heart were congested. His lungs were failing. His kidneys stopped working. He could not stop bleeding. He had fallen into a coma. We were pretty much watching him die without being able to do anything to help.
The helplessness? No fun. He was dying, bit by bit, and there was nothing that any of us could do. There was a lot of hand-wringing, sniffling and begging. All of them futile efforts, of course, in the end. We wrung our hands when the doctors were trying to keep his body going. We sniffled when it seemed as if the danger passed. We begged him to be strong, to open his eyes and to not give up, when we thought that he could hear us. It was all futile.
Maybe it was for the best, in the end, because it ended his suffering. My grandfather was a very practical man and had denounced the idiocy of trying to hang onto life too hard. You will know when you’ve lived enough, he had said before, there is no point in living for too long. It was one thing to listen to him declare it so but another to actually do it though.
It hurt to let go. There is a lot of regret about all the things that we’ve not said and done enough. Yet, at the end of the day, it isn’t really about us, is it? Everything is about him no matter how you try to make it all about yourself.
Rest in peace, 爷爷. For what it’s worth, I love you.