My grandfather is dying. Not in the tongue in cheek sense that 'we're all dying,' he is going to go to sleep one day, very soon, and never wake up again.

Seven thousand miles from where I am right now, he is in a hospital bed.

He spent about seven years living by himself after my grandma died. He suffered a stroke was almost totally immobile. It was only a few months ago that we finally convinced him to move into an elderly home so at least he would be with people.

This is the second time I've had to deal with losing a grandparent, this time I don't have the divine crutch to get me through it. I don't know how I'm going to manage. He's been in the hospital twice this week. The doctor says that if he suffers another complication he probably won't be leaving. He's well into his 80's, he's lived a long life. It's not as though this wasn't expected. It hasn't made the situation any more bearable.

Understandably, the churchiness at home has gone up a few notches.

My family still knows I'm an atheist, but they've asked me to pray with them. I've decided that I will. Not because I believe it will help in any way, but because the situation is hard enough for them; if I can make them feel in any degree better by doing this, I will.

It's weird going through this. I know that he will very likely die soon. The chemical reactions that have sustained him through the Battle of Hong Kong, the Japanese occupation, the hand over of Hong Kong to China are coming to an end. His body will no longer be able to hold back the entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics will take its course. His energy will disperse back into the Universe and the atoms which make him will feed back into their cycles. In a way he won't really be gone, just somewhere else, in other places, doing other things, persisting as part of the Universe. Even unto the end of all matter, the energy that made him will live on.

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Comment by David Miller on November 12, 2009 at 12:24pm
I'm sorry buddy, a loss like this can be very tough. But, if I were to guess, the toughness and determination that got your grandfather through those battles lives on in you and your kin. I believe as you mourn and contemplate that great man's life that you will find little left to be sad about. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing and heroic man who has had an incredibly full and facinating life. A life which, I'm sure, he does not regret at all and what more could a man ask for? Continue to be strong for your family and I know everything will be okay.
Comment by Louis on October 12, 2009 at 12:39am
Thanks, everyone.

It's still hard for me to comprehend. I don't know how it will feel when he is gone.

Part of me wishes I could pray again. It's the helplessness I can't stand more than anything else.
Comment by Emekan A'dem on October 11, 2009 at 11:59pm


We're behind you on this. I second everything that has already been said.
Comment by John Q. Antichrist or Rosco on October 11, 2009 at 8:14pm
Hello Mr. Jack! It has been a while! I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, and i understand your point about the praying. Sometimes you have to roll with things you don't agree with, to help those you love.

I was just thinking about my grandfather a few minutes before I read your post, so it struck a personal chord with me. I was sitting here watching Bill O'Reilly interrogate Richard Dawkins. I was thinking how my grandfather would react if he was in Dawkins' shoes. He would have said, "July 12, 1947 was the most important day in my life. It was the day I learned I do not know everything. Hopefully, you'll have the same revelation someday." My grandfather's thoughts and actions live on in me and my cousins. Someday, maybe I will have kids and they will be know-it-all little shits, and I will have to tell them about that important day.

I believe that my grandfather lives on in the people his life touched. I miss him terribly, but I'd rather miss him than to never have known him.
Comment by mick keogh on October 11, 2009 at 3:19pm
This is a very moving statment you have made i have been through it and every one will. do you think of your self as a good person then your inheritonce is a testomony to your ancestors



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