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An Examination in Loss

Today I happened upon a post that I started writing over 3 years ago. I always find it interesting to read something that I wrote some time ago and compare and contrast the way that my views have changed since that time, but perhaps even more interesting still is to note the ways in which they have not…

Originally written August 8th, 2011:

With the recent passing of my Grandfather Bruce Tyacke, I have been (as of late) spending a good deal of time pondering the meaning of loss. The first thing that struck me when I received news of his death, was the unexpected emotional response.  I felt surprised. I felt empathy for my family, and all of those that were close to him. I felt a lot of things. The one thing that I did not feel, however, was sadness. We were not particularly close, but I would still expect to experience sadness over the loss of someone that has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I thought perhaps that I had simply not had a chance to let everything sync in. This would be understandable given that I was almost 9,000 miles away and had to very unexpectedly make plans to travel half way around the world to get home for the funeral. I did just that, but even after arriving home, seeing my Father and Grandmother, and having some time to sit down and think, sadness still did not come. Last night I had the opportunity to sit down with Bridget Strudwick: (the minister helping us to organize the funeral services, and coincidently a long-time family friend), along with my Father and Grandmother, and discuss my Grandfather’s life in order to help provide her with information for the service. She began by asking a number of questions about my Grandfather: “How would you best describe him,” “What was he like,” “What is your fondest memory of him,” etc… My Father and Grandmother both shared characterizations of a man who was caring, positive, and overall, a gentleman of the greatest manner. Beyond a mere narrative, they had stories and memories which made the picture ever more vivid.  When asked to share my experiences, memories, and thoughts on my Grandfather, I often found myself struggling to find an appropriate response. It was at this point, that I realized just how very little I knew the man, and how much the little that I did know about him I enjoyed. Slowly, I began to feel a sense of sadness. I wasn’t so much sad about his death as I was about the fact that I hadn’t seized the opportunity to get to know him better while he was alive. The funny thing was that I had been planning on returning to Minnesota in the fall, largely in part, to do just that.

The lesson I learned a bit too late: Don’t let time pass you by without getting to know the people in your life. It is, in the end, as much your responsibility to reach out and ask to be let in, as it is their’s to share. The portrait painted that night was accurate: My Grandfather was a gentleman. A light-hearted, caring man with an undeniably positive outlook on life. There are many lessons I should have liked to learn better from him, but looking back I am slowly starting to realize and remember the things about him that I should like to see more in myself. It’s been said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and to this end I will try to honor his memory by expressing these qualities in myself each day…

So, what do you think ?