Today was my grandfathers funeral. My family gave him a worthy and beautiful send-off. And I wasn’t there in person but in video call.
I don’t think my grandfather particularly missed me at the event but nontheless, it feels a bit weird. I miss something about not being home right now, even though it was my own decision. I miss the sharing of stories.
One of my earliest real memories of my grandfather is him teaching me how to swim. He wasn’t the “I’ll read you a story” type, but when my swimming skills were treathened by a minor hearing problem, he did turn out to be the “I’ll pick you up in your lunch break and teach you all I can” type.
After that, we lost each other a bit. He wasn’t really interested in kid stuff and didn’t pretend to be. I wasn’t really interested in grown up stuff and couldn’t pretend to be. Besides that, I sometimes found the hierarchy in the household a bit confusing.
While getting older, we sometimes clashed in discussions that were probably about something that seemed to matter back then, but apperently didn’t, since I can’t remember now. I was, at the time, trying very hard to be rebellious but never really became good at it. I wasn’t direct enough (and still am not) so his direct remarks caught me off guard more than once.
I did have one shiny rebel moment though. After a comment on my weight, I retaliated fiercely by asking for a deep fryer for my 19th birthday. He probably never made the connection and went out to buy me one that still lasts till today. So much for true rebelliousness.
To this day, I dont know what caused it, but our relationship changed. And it wasn’t just me growing up, he changed as well. I started to notice that a good conversation wasn’t just about his fields of interest anymore. He and I were discovering more common ground. We could discuss work, even though my career was far from his. And eventually we could talk about things that would not have interested him before at all.
Our worlds had moved more towards eachother. And when I moved to the other side of the world, he learned new ways to actively stay in touch. My grandfather followed us on Polarsteps, saw our campsite in Chili via a videochat and we said our final goodbyes via a WhatsApp call while I was sitting in a Malaysian coffee shop.
Today, to take our minds off things we visited a museum/temple. It was possible to release floating lotus flowers there and so we did. For safe travels for grandfather. The inside had a beautiful staircase. The “Stairway to heaven”. We walked it, with him in mind. The stained glass ceiling was a breathtaking map of the world.
I may not have been near when he passed away but I honestly never felt closer.