Death is all too common to be considered tragic, as far as I can speculate on the definition of the word. Nonetheless, my grandfather on my mother’s side died today, and his children will inevitably feel as though events transpired were indeed tragic.

My grandfather, heretofore referred to as Pap, would pee in Mountain Dew cans when I was much younger, and try and get my cousins and I to drink it.

When asked once, “Hey Pap, how you been?” His answer was “Just been,” which was indeed super comical to those of us posing the question at the time, but reflecting on it seems very poignant of just the way the old man was. Simple, easy, direct. He was a coal miner in his day, but around that and up until he could no longer move of his own accord, he was a farmer. He woke up with the sun and worked through the day until the sun could no longer keep up with him, and he would retire for a short evening of supper and the preacher on the AM radio.

I saw him just weeks before he got really bad. He was 70 some years old, I surmise, more than three times my age and easily twice my size, a white haired man with a full head on top, whiskers creeping through his face and doing heavy lifting on some remote location of his farm. I had been somehow employed to help him, though my help was purely superficial obviously, because he could do anything himself and probably just wanted some company, or to spend some time with a rarely seen grandchild. He was strong and I was amazed looking at him that time, how much of a man he was and would I ever be such a Jack London type?

Towards the end his legs were literally nothing but skin and bone. He could only lay in bed, blind and unaware.

Death is a thing that needs to come when it was meant to and while medical science is a wonderful thing for treating what it can, prolonging life to live in a hazy shroud is no fair exchange for a good, honorable death.

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