The End

Grandfather's things: 1. Collection of tools 2. A computer grandfather used to Skype with us 3. Bed 
4. Plant 5. Island with a bulb 6. Table lamp 7—9. A ship grandfather made from scratch

How could you cry for me?
Cause I don't feel bad about it
So shut your eyes 
Kiss me goodbye
And sleep
Just sleep

The End.

My grandfather passed away last week. He was 84 years old, at his home in Shanghai.

I vaguely remember that my mother broke the news through a simple and straightforward text message. I was in the middle of a fashion show. It was sudden news, communicated through a medium of zero human interaction. I wasn't sure how to react, and there was nothing I could do because my grandfather resided overseas. I simply read, then ignored the text message until I felt like I was ready to reply an "okay".

Death is funny. Movies and social conventions taught me I'm supposed to react to death in a certain way, because death is a bad thing. However, the reality for me was that nothing changed. The world looked the same, and people are on the go. Businesses continue to operate, and my life goes on. Living away from my grandfather meant that there was no real "change" that I could see and feel. It's morbid that way, but it's the truth.

But again, how will things ever be the same? The next time I'm back in Shanghai, my grandfather is no longer around. My family has been living away from our Shanghai relatives for the past 14 years. We go back occasionally to visit. Maybe due to his already old age by the time I was able to remember, I don't remember him looking different that much. And because of that, his death never crossed my mind. It's difficult to picture death when you don't see visual evidence of deterioration.

My grandfather had diabetes but it was under control by diet, exercise, and medications. He was very active for his age and preferred to walk to grocery stores and clinics over taking the bus. He was a traditional and disciplined man who followed a good sleeping schedule.

But it was time for him to go.

My grandfather, the father to my mom, was an important family member who held me through my first steps, who watched over me when my mom was overwhelmed with two toddlers, taught me spelling in kindergarten, constantly sparked my curiosity and was someone who showed me nobody is ever really too old to learn.

He was a physics professor and had an eccentric range of hobbies, from making ship models from scratch to old school radios and construction work. He was a genius of his generation, having coached many top students in China and had his creations exhibited in galleries. He never stopped creating.

When I arrived at my grandfather's funeral in Shanghai, I finally felt death. Grandfather had died. One look at the guests and you will feel the loss. And then there was my grandfather in the casket, surrounded by fresh flowers, wearing his old-fashioned gold square spectacles he had been wearing since forever. My grandfather looked exactly the same I remembered him to be, but he will never wake up again. It was an incredibly difficult thought to swallow.

Why is it so hard to let someone go even though we have been equipped with the knowledge? I can come up with a list of reasons why it is okay, but there's no denying a void that was carved in my heart.

"Once you leave the house, you'll remember him just the way as you have always remembered him. It's all outside that door." — Mad Men

Originally written and unpublished in June 2015.