I’ve spent the past few days in Florida with my family. My maternal grandfather passed away suddenly on Monday evening. He wasn’t ill. In fact, he had golfed Friday morning and, the week prior, he played a 72 and a 76. The 76 was a bad day for him. He lived 80 years full of music, dear family, jolly laughter and a simple and sweet devotion to his Christian faith. On Monday evening, he passed away peacefully as if he had just paused to rest.
When I heard the news, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. I lost my paternal grandmother nearly two years ago after a long fight and a slow decline. That was hard. The mourning seemed to drag on forever, even before she had gone. In very different way, it’s just as hard when you don’t have the chance to prepare yourself for the impending end. The sudden flood of emotion is so strong and truly caught me off guard.
It caught all of us off guard, and my grandmother has been struggling with the sense of feeling like she didn’t get to say goodbye. It was a normal day. Then he was gone. That feeling that she’s experiencing – as close, but I’m sure inadequately, as I can understand it – truly is like being kicked in the gut. The wind is gone. Just suddenly not there.
I know I risk sounding cliché in writing this, but that wind is like the breath of our lives that only flows because of the love in our lives. The love we give and the love we receive. And in those sudden moments of loss where we truly feel like the wind has been knocked out of us, it’s like the life breath of love created by that person we have lost is also lost. There’s no more wind of love to give to or receive from that person.
That’s not to say that love and the imprints it leaves on us doesn’t live on. But I write this to remind myself to bear in mind my parting words; to be sure that my cherished ones know my love and carry it with them; to act with love; to do all I can to create a wind of life that is full of love and to impart it on my dear ones as often as I can.