My grandfather spent his 75th birthday in the hospital. He wasn’t conscious and he never left the hospital, but he turned 75. He died a week later.
We love him and we miss him and all of our lives have gone on without him — sometimes reluctantly, frequently with significant hiccups, never without the memory of him present. He was our benevolent patriarch and we love him still. He lived out the American dream, created opportunities for everyone in our family, with all the attendant anxieties and obligations.
I miss him every week. No longer every day, thankfully, but frequently enough. I miss him, but it’s undeniable that I came into my own and started to embrace my own life, to understand my own desire and ability to Do Things in life. I miss him but I know he never saw me at my best. I want to be my best for him, but more for myself. The ideas that a life worth living requires hard work and that hard work leads to rewards are ideas I got from him. I can recognize them as flawed and privileged in turns, but more importantly I recognize them as part of myself.
Most importantly, I’ve embraced the idea I can create my own understanding of what living a good life means.
So, thank you CDP. We miss you, and we love you, and we’ll never forget you. And we’re living our lives as ourselves in part to honor you.