Friday, July 13, 2012

On saying goodbye

Today, things aren't 'wrong', or at least not in the way I used that word last week. However, they are a bit sad.

Over the past few weeks, my grandfather, my dad's dad, has been fading. He lost his wife of 65 years last October. He turned 92 a month a go. There was no defined illness, no heart attack, no cancer - just old age, and I think some sadness on his part too.

He passed away early yesterday morning.

Now it's our turn to be sad, even as this is an expected passing. I feel for my Dad and his siblings most, as the loss of two parents must be so different to the loss of one. My aunt, who lives in the Victorian town that my grandparents moved to a few years back, has had a particularly rough few months.

For me, whilst my grandmother's passing highlighted the finality of death, my grandfather's death (and the lead up to it) highlights the inevitability of it. Everyone I care about is going to die eventually. I know that isn't news. In fact, I fear I sound a bit precious to only be realising this at the age of 28. We all live, and we all die, but knowing that in theory just isn't the same as realising it, truly and for real, in a personal way.

It does make you appreciate the people who are here whilst they're here, and the days that are lived.

When my grandmother died, I found it helpful to focus on the things she had taught me, the things I was grateful for, and the memories I had of her. For my grandfather, I would like to do the same. These are the grandparents I grew up with, after all, who lived an hour away from us for much of my childhood. They looked after me and my brother when my sister was born. They came to our school concerts. We spent Christmas and Easter with them. We stayed in their spare bedrooms.

My Grandpa taught me many things over those childhood, and later teenage, and later adult, years.

That it's ok to listen, to be quiet, to speak softly.

That you can be smart and wise without being noisy about it.

That caring about your family is important.

That looking after the one you love comes first, before anything, even if it's hard on you.

That you can grow, and make, things that are far better than anything you buy at a shop.

That you can get great pleasure from simple things. A walk, a flower, a cup of tea, cornflakes for breakfast.

That dessert is the best part of the meal, and things are sweeter with sugar.

That caring for people means expressing interest, genuine interest, in who they are and what they're interested in.

That you can live a long and productive and wonderful life, and leave so many good memories that your own memory will always be treasured.

His memory will be treasured, always.


  1. what beautiful memories :)
    Thinking of you at this tough time xxx

  2. i'm so sorry for your loss. these are beautiful life lessons that you've been fortunate to receive from your family :)
    i lost my grandmother last march and i still think of her whenever i smell someone wearing her Oscar de la Renta perfume. people leave us but are always with us!

  3. What a very touching post. Your grandfather sounds very wise. So sorry for your loss.

  4. A beautiful post Kari. Really beautiful...
    Sending you a big hug.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news - and part of me is pleased that your grandfather is with your grandmother - condolences to you and your family and best wishes for learning to live without him - it is quite a journey! I think the lovely thing about this post is that I am sure when you live in the ways you learnt from your grandfather that he will be there with you in some way!

  6. Kari, my dearest...I never know when to say to comfort someone who's grieving. Sometimes, there's nothing to be said...My prayers are with you and your family at this time of grief.
    Those life lessons...I read them over and over again...Boy, what a wonderful, beautiful,, and wise man he was! I wish I had the chance to know my grandpas before they both passed away. Once we moved to the States, we didn't have the money for us to go back. By the time we did, it was already too late.
    Thank you, Kari, for sharing your grandfather's memories and his wisdom! I'm going to try to find pleasure in the simple things today.

  7. Oh darling so sorry for your loss. What beautiful lessons he taught you.

  8. Oh Kari, I am so sorry for you loss. As I was reading the list that you made it just made me smile. Not in a way that minimizes your loss, but he must have been a fantastic person. I think these are all things that we can do. Know that you and your family are in my prayers.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear your grandfather has passed away Kari. That's an enormous loss and it has happened so quickly on top of your grandmother's passing. They both sound like the most wonderful of all grandparents and it is so lovely that they enjoyed 65 years together. Best wishes for the next few days xx

  10. Oh I 'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you are doing okay and are surrounded by plenty of love and support.

  11. Lovely post Kari. Keep taking care of yourself. xoxo

  12. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I think your grandparents would be smiling down at you from Heaven with a twinkle in their eye though! Beautiful post!

  13. Oh Kari, how sad. The photos of your grandparents say it all. They have such kind faces. This is a beautiful tribute to them and it says a lot about the woman you've become. Thanks for sharing and my thoughts are with you.

  14. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Your grandfathers lessons are very wise indeed and I'm sure you will always have fond memories of both of your grandparents. Sending you some hugs at this difficult time.

  15. What a beautiful post. So sorry for your loss.

  16. Thinking of you and your family.

  17. I'm just catching up on your posts and I wanted to add my condolences. He sounds like such a magnificent person, I'm sure his legacy in the lessons he has taught you will continue to flow through the years. That last photo says everything, what a beautiful couple. Hugs.


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