I watched my grandfather take his last breath of life

Dry mouthed gasps that suddenly stopped

His body stiff in front of me

The absence of his human noise

Was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard

I sat by my grandfather’s deceased body and studied it

Touched his cold forehead

He is now just a shell of who he used to be

His body peripheral

And I’ve always idealised death

Thought about it far too many times to count

Seen it as this deep sleep that you never wake from

An infinite peaceful black that takes you in its arms

But all of my suicidal tendencies soared away

With his loving and patient soul

And I don’t know if heaven or hell is real

Or reincarnation exists

But I’d like to think my grandfather

Is sitting with his son who committed suicide all those years ago

Telling him what a wondrous ninety-four year journey it was

And that he missed out on a lot of loving (and hurting)

That he should have stayed a little longer

Fought a little longer

To experience the sheer terror and beauty of life

And I can’t deny there’s been times where

I’ve wanted to turn my white tee shirts into flags

To have joined them wherever in the abyss they are now

But you see,

My papou had this handshake he was famous for

A hearty grip that felt like he was crushing your fingers

But really he was jolting the life back inside of us

And showing us how strong we are


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