My grandpa died last week. He had been sick since February, and it was truly a case of everyone saying “at least he isn’t suffering now” and meaning it. (By “sick” I mean he had surgery and instead of the procedure doing what it was supposed to – keeping him alive – he came out of it with dementia.) I spent a few days trying to dredge up some memory of the kind of person he was that wasn’t tainted by my memories of my childhood with the rest of my family but came up close to empty and felt bad about it until the funeral, when I realized I was going to have to convince myself that it just didn’t matter because there was nothing I could do about it.
What I have is him catching me leading my younger cousins in throwing apples at cars on the highway (a brat!), the heavy sawdust smell of his workshop, his footsteps crossing the dining room floor after work while I played under the table, every time he offered to trade our good behavior for gas station candy because he wanted gas station candy.
It almost feels like enough.