I remember that night well.
I was still at work, trying to get through the last hour before heading out when I got the call that my grandpa was not going to make it that night. For the past couple of years, he was battling Leukemia and had suffered an infection a few days ago. As a family we gathered around him and spoke to him, despite the fact that he had slipped into a deep coma. After a while, we decided to leave for a quick dinner in hopes that when we come back later that night he would still be there. We got the call as we were about to leave that he had left us.
This morning we had a beautiful ceremony for him, and as tragic as the night he died was, my mood was different today. Leading up to the funeral, we all got a chance to look at photographs of him throughout the decades. A healthier, more vibrant him complete with some of his grandchildren and my uncles awesome 80s mustaches. He was there in Vegas. We saw him underneath the Eiffel Tower, in the middle of Tiananmen Square. I was in awe. I looked around the chapel today and it was completely filled. He lived a life we all dreamed of having, and he clearly left an impression on people. As for my relationship with him, I spent more time with him this past year than before. I was there during his last breaths. And I would be one of the six to carry him to his final resting place. I felt content in knowing that I had very few regrets with him.
On the night he passed, as we were driving back to the hospital after dinner, my mom reminded me of what he appreciated about me. One of the things he would ask about me is dragonboating, and I guess my athleticism was what he enjoyed about me as a person. She told me, paddle hard for him.
There is no guide on grief, no simple formula to help us understand it. We all have to figure it out on our own. For me, to continue doing the things he admired about me and doing them well is enough to carry me forward.
From that night on, I knew what I had to do.