My grandfather died on Sunday night. He was 85. I haven't really seen him since last May (2005) when we were home visiting. I suppose you could count going to the nursing home with my parents, but he was asleep. Even if he had been awake there's no way to know if he would have even known who I was. The funny thing about losing someone, especially when you're far away, is that it shakes you up a little more. You weren't there, and you feel like maybe you should have been. You never really got to say goodbye and it makes you feel like you got the raw deal--or maybe that the person wondered why they hadn't seen you lately. It's a completely different experience than being home close to where everything is happening. Almost like it's a bigger deal because you have to depart so drastically from your daily schedule to go home to be at the funeral.
The thing is...I haven't cried yet about this either. While I'm not sure how aware he was the last few years, since the dementia had gotten so bad, I know that my Grandpa was a believer. And the last six months he's been suffering a lot because of all of his physical and mental illnesses. My prayer since the day he fell and broke his hip was for God to heal him or bring him home. I'm not happy that he's gone, but I rejoice in knowing that he is no longer suffering.
There is comfort for those who are in Christ. We no longer live in fear of death, but look forward with anticipation to the resurrection of the body. Death does not have the final say. Christ's death and resurrection are for us a foreshadowing of what is to come in our own lives. Every person, believer or otherwise, will die one day. No one escapes that. But for those who place their hope in the Lord, death is passing from this into new life. It is passing from brokenness into glory. It is passing from a life that is fleeting into life everlasting.