Two weeks ago, I lost my last biological grandparent. Defying all rational convention about some hardwired human acceptance of the inevitability of life’s ultimate conclusion, I found myself at odds with the abrupt presentation of this unmistakable new reality.
On a loop or in a wheel, we are only granted so many spins. It should be no surprise that someone who has lived a long, full existence will eventually read the words on that final page. But reaching the coda does not always arrive free of regrets. There are some who scrape and scratch and claw in the desperate hope for one more second to say what’s been hiding, dormant, during each previous solar lap. With the chronometric click of a stopwatch marking that last finish line cross, there are many who will suffer under the weight of internalized regret.
Any finale free of an encore is a bitter pill to swallow and a harsh concept to stomach, regardless of the strength of your constitution.
But there are a rare few who can float above that burden to find the gift of a truly peaceful passing. Leaving this terrestrial plane with the satisfaction felt from completing a comprehensively explored journey is not simply uncommon. It’s downright remarkable.
The only matriarch I had the opportunity to know, my paternal grandmother was a queen in her castle, surrounded by a ceaselessly devoted and doting “royal household.” She was a ringmaster and supervisor, discreetly directing the proceedings with a simple glance or folding of the hands. A subtle conductor, she left little doubt about what she thought or felt. But everything was wrapped in a warm, inviting embrace behind kind, wise eyes that seemed to see the soul.
The finality that follows death is not something I have ever been able to fully process, and there is always this nagging notion that something was waiting…undone, unsaid, or unanswered. But I can take some comfort in the fact that this one human being lived her life to its greatest potential and left nothing sitting on lists. No buckets. No wishes.
Still, there is a tangible vacuum created when a wheel is suddenly absent from its hub, and every earthquake sends out shocks from its center.
We are all still rattling.