We recently received a phone call that my grandfather (my mother's father) passed away. His death did not come as a surprise, for he's been ready to go for quite some time now. The news came with a mixture of sadness and a bit of relief—we're all grateful he won't have to spend any more time frustrated by his failing body, but we'll miss him all the same.
My only regret about his passing is that he wasn't able to share what he knew of things like tree-felling, knife-sharpening, maple-syrup making, and mushroom hunting with Tyler and me. When he was in the prime of his life, we were far too young to know that we'd one day dream of living in the woods. I wish we'd been older, or he younger—then he could have taken us out to his beloved timber and shown us the ropes.
The visitation and funeral were as good as they could be. Our family was there, supporting one another, holding hands, crying, laughing, hugging, and sharing many stories and memories of my grandpa. The whole town of Bunker Hill, it seemed, was there to show their support to my grandmother, and to the rest of us. A heartfelt thank you to all who came, provided food, and offered their sympathetic words as the life of my grandfather was honored.
With so much intense living and dying going on in our family, we've been in touch with our own mortality even more than usual these days, finding ourselves keenly aware of life's brevity. All of the cliches are true, when one really considers them: Life is short. Carpe Diem. There is no time like the present. Live your dreams. Seriously, we have so little time on this earth. Let us make each moment count.
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.Jack London
Grandpa, I wish you could see our land in Vermont—you would love it. I wish you could impart to us your woodsman's skills and your tireless stren'th—we're gonna need it. As I walk through our own timber, burrs clinging to my jeans, the bark of our maple trees rough beneath my fingertips, I'll think of you. I'll remember your wry smile and your rakish smirk, so rarely given but always appreciated. I love you.