Yesterday, I found out that my grandfather died. There are many ways to describe him: as a marxist, as a man who believed in democracy, as a man who fought for his beliefs and was physically tortured for it, as a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather. He survived two of his own children, and yet he also outlived thirteen dictators.
But, to me, for the most part, he was just an amazing grandfather. He knew me before I knew myself. When he lived with us, he understood when I felt alone, and he would come and find me. We would sit by each other in sympathetic, communicative silence, usually eating dinner together, but sometimes not. Despite everything he lived through, he always maintained so much joy for life and approached most of life’s setbacks with great humor. Just before he died, they tell me he was instructing everyone on how to organize his funeral and where to place his body, as though he were going on a trip. I hope I face my own life and its end with the dignity and grace he did.
I have always admired him, for his courage and his conscientiousness, but now I will just always miss him, for the warmth and the joy he brought into my life.