"For death is certain to one who is born...thou shalt not grieve for what is unavoidable."
Death is truly the one thing that equates everything on this planet. Everything has a life span. Be it natural, forced, or accidental; Death will find us all. For that reason alone, it is rare that I mourn a death. I celebrate the life the person lived. No matter how long or short it may have been, the moments are what were important in someone's existence.
My Grandfather was a brilliant man. He taught my brother, cousin, and I a lot as we grew up. He would read to us. Where the Red Fern Grows being one of my favorites. He'd recite poetry 'Cremation of Sam Mcgee' being my favorite. There were stories that graced our morning drives to school and races to see who could fasten their seat belts the fastest. And every single morning he would sing to us... When You're Smiling by Louis Armstrong.
Oddly enough, it's the first thing I woke up with stuck in my brain.
We learned how to shoot, hunt, make bullets, and whittle. He had given us kids each a case of matches, a metal bowl and showed us how to light matches. We spent months lighting and blowing out those matches and burning the spent matches into ashes. Haha, probably not the safest thing to do, but we never felt the need to light a match outside of that time period.
There were canisters worth of old gunpowder "domino" lines drawn and lit on the driveway. He was always teaching though. Everything he did had purpose and taught us something. I truly wish that my children had known that Opa, rather than the post stroke Opa they grew up with. Although, even the first stroke didn't keep him from getting down on the floor and playing cars with my oldest until he was 7 or so.
He camped, hunted, built a cabin, boated, fished, and took time to feed us sugared butter bread (it was a depression era thing apparently).
I believe that remembering the life lived is far more important than the death. I honored him in my way. I spent some time at my altar, asked the ancestors to guide his soul and lit an eternal candle to help lead his spirit to where he deserves to be. It will burn for the next three days. I'll do the standard viewing and funeral that my family sets up as well. He's my Grandfather after all.
My kids took it very differently. The youngest is too young to really get it. My oldest shut down. He's starting to come out of his shell at the time of this post . We all process differently and I support that. He knows he's loved and he knows I'm here if he wants or needs to talk.
Rest with the ancestors Opa, I will see you next lifetime.