My grandfather, Ivan Beran, succumbed to the cancer he's been fighting for five years yesterday at the age of eighty three. I Saturday and saw the condition he was in in the days before he died; bedridden, incontinent, plagued with waking dreams of falling off his bed as an obvious metaphor for fear of death, every attempt to move him off the side he was laying on resulting in agony.
That's all done now. The funeral is Thursday and all descendents of Ivan and Shirley Beran will be there. Five children with their spouses, thirteen grandchildren of whom eight are now married, eightenn great-grandchildren so far. Only one of his or Grandma's siblings is still well enough to make the trip but there will be nieces and nephews and neighbors and friends of every degree.
My grandmother has a sleeping pill prescription now in addition to her other meds. Greeting her yesterday was bitter, horribly bitter. She cries hard when a family member hugs her but beyond that she seems steady and ready to make a go of living a few years without him. We'll see. My mother, the youngest daughter, has buried herself in the practical work of writing the funeral, writing the obituary, calling distant relatives, etc.
I myself am doing well. For me it was the death of a horribly ill man fifty five years my senior. I've been sifting through old family photos, discovering among other things that Grandma's hair was already white when she was in her mid-forties and that Grandpa had a definite Mad Man pimp sort of thing going on when he was younger. I was his favorite grandson as a boy, quiet and not causing any trouble unlike my cousins. That changed when I became a teenager but still the grandparents had an air about their house and themselves. Grandpa was the pope, an Abraham, and it was a clensing experience to be at his house for the Holidays. For meals I still sit with my cousins as we did when we were children. Three tables now, segregated roughly among children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.The air around that house is heavy now. I do little chores around the house to avoid akward silences, crack jokes to make my Mom laugh.
I'll be serving as a pallbearer along with my male cousins. Later today I'll be getting my hair and mustache trimmed and I'll have to dig up a suit from somewhere. I've spent the last thirty six hours surrounded by family and I write this mainly to make contact with someone else. Family is a beautiful thing and there are times like this when they are nearly everything but not quite. Life carries on healthy hungry and awake. Now is the time for the grandchildren to remind the children of that. To any old friends reading this I just want to let you know that I love all of you. To any stranger stumbling upon these obscure ramblings, well I love you too, why the hell not? Always love the person in front of your face, and always love the person that loves you back, not in spite of the fact that we go our seperate ways and die but because of it. That's the fight. Loss is the common enemy that unites us, and if you've ever felt whole around the people you love then you've already won.