Death happens. I don’t mean it cavalierly, but inevitably. 

But somehow, even though you know it is inevitable, even if you’ve known it was coming for years, somehow, that doesn’t lessen the pain.  You would think, honestly, that it would.  After all, you’ve had time to prepare for it, come to terms with it, ask why; maybe even receive an answer in your own time.

And sometimes, death is welcome.  There are many people who suffer in old age.  So there’s the almost ironic feeling of relief when someone has been delivered peacefully after a long struggle.  But even that relief doesn’t displace the ache in the heart of those left behind.

It was two years ago when my grandfather told me cavalierly (and it seems, inevitably) that he thought he had Alzheimer’s.  We were having lunch at a burger joint in Seattle, and I was set to embark on a grand adventure in a far away place (Australia).  (He himself had lived a life full of adventures in far away places, like Okinawa and Anchorage.) 

As it turns out, he was right.  He was, after all, a physician. So I fear for him, in the beginning, there must have been so much pain at the inevitability. 

I hope there was also, in the end, relief.   And peace.

(Elliott Boisen; March 14, 1925 to August 6, 2012)

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