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.