On Tuesday afternoon at 4 pm, I learned that our beloved grandfather had passed away peacefully in his sleep. After being bed ridden and comatose for three years due to a stroke, grandfather had finally departed – according to my grandma – with a smile on his face.
While alive, grandfather was the embodiment of curiosity. His unwavering passion for knowledge and answers propelled all sorts of strange experiments. Most notable was a milk-and-cola concoction believed to fortify the bones and which deeply traumatized me one summer. But behind the quirks and oddities was a scientific and methodical man, evident in his selected tools of trade. I still remember his study so well – that musty smell of old cherished books, towering behind a glass book case. On his desk laid a microscope, a magnifying glass, a dictionary, and various newspaper cutouts streamed with grandfather’s colourful highlights and annotations. He relished facts, information and data, all of which became building blocks for the curious world he lived in. This one precious life never ceased to be a playground full of discoveries and possibilities.
Since grandfather’s passing, I thought frequently about the concept of death and our purpose in life. Of the few times grandfather ever spoke about the end of life, it was always scientific and a matter of fact – we are composed of molecules which will disintegrate and return to the earth, in a beautiful cyclical fashion. I do not know if grandfather had any spiritual beliefs, but I do know he lived as someone who was well aware of his finite existence. For only someone who understood the brevity of life could have lived as fully as grandfather did. For this, I am grateful to have inherited his outlook and his ability to be endlessly intrigued by this world. I may not believe in the afterlife, but I take comfort in the idea that if I strive to make the most out of everyday and to maintain my sense of discovery, I will be keeping grandfather’s spirit alive.