The really hard death in my family was my grandfather's. Actually I wasn't supposed to even know about how hard exactly. Parents had told me not to visit him in hospital. Should've known better, but the truth is I'd been stupid, stupid, stupid and f**ked up enough to oblige. Same old, same old, same effin old. Though perhaps this is the one I regret the most.
It was early summer when he eventually died. And though that's another story, just a few more months to go till I lost my faith and unlearned crying for plenty summers to come.
Despite my parents still being very reluctant, at least went to see him in the local cemetery before he got cremated. The mortuary was such a nightmare by itself. Not like other places keeping the dead in coffins in a room so you could sit beside them or so, oh no.
The whole thing being more like a kind of a corridor in the cellar of the building, equipped with a row of little oval green porthole type of windows in one of the walls, directed downwards if I remember correctly. And there they were, behind behind those peek holes, obviously into a cold room. All you could was having a last distant look through the green window. Cold, fading light on cold faces.
What a place to bid farewell. So ugly and heartless, shut off and deader than dead already. Just like especially designed to pale my childhood fears of such places. Kinda even worse than the visiting room at airport prison, where you're only allowed seeing people through an armoured glass, at least there it's a huge transparent window (smeared with heartbreaking marks of lips and tiny little hands and fingers on the outside).
All I could see was his face kinda upside down, looking strange through this thick green glass. But even so it was plain to see it must've been really hard and very painful. Like he didn't smile at all. Still clenching his teeth, lips thin and tense.
Only found out about the details almost 10 years later, cause my then girlfriend by chance happened to be in the same hospital getting surgery when he'd died. Only after she told me what she witnessed there, I went back to my grandmother and parents, nagging them for the real story.
Some people have said I'm one in a million, but usually myself I'm not so sure about that. Cause he no doubt was, farmer's boy to CEO and all, and though I have some ideas where not only my bad temper and trademark stubborness but also my sense of integrity stem from, actually m'afraid I'm no match at all.
And while everybody admired and envied him for the more glorious and glamourous aspects of his life, personally I know pretty no one who'd been able standing in his shoes only for a year or two, let alone some decades.
Cause, though he could look so gentle and peaceful, especially with us grandchildren around, it's still from his face that I learned recognising this typical look of people who already were and / or still are going trough a terrible lot of also physical pain only by sheer willpower, and he went really far in about every sense of the word no doubt. And that was only the good times yet.
Cause God had saved His worst for the end ...
Tears continued ...