I spent this past weekend in Buffalo at the funeral and shiva of my grandfather. I haven't attended very many funerals and my grandfather is probably the closest individual I've known who has passed away. It was a draining, stressful experience, for many people, and much more for others than myself, but I certainly feel the pain of having lost someone I love.
The weekend itself was actually a pretty positive experience. The funeral was a nice service, with beautiful sentiments made about my grandfather. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I learned quite a few things about him at the funeral that I hadn't previously known. It was really interesting hearing people talk about him - because I heard some things that actually reminded me of myself, so I feel a bit of my grandfather lives on inside me.
I didn't grow up near my grandparents, so my interactions with them have been limited to sporadic visits over the years. But I remember my grandfather sitting back, cracking sarcastic one-liners and just being terribly cute.
He and my grandmother were married for 61 years. My grandfather loved my grandmother so much, right to the end. He was always so sweet to her. I hope I get the opportunity to experience a love like that sometime in my life.
The weekend, while not for a happy reason, did give me the chance to spend a nice bit of time with my family, some of whom I hadn't really spent that much time with in my entire life. I feel grateful for that.
In general, the whole thing made me realize how important family is, something that I often don't comprehend so well. I don't visit my family very often, but I am going to make an effort in the future to do so. I don't want to learn about my family members at their funerals. I want to learn about them and spend quality time with them now.