Summer in Mississippi. I am nine years old and I'm playing outside with my older sister and my two younger cousins. It's 102 F / 39 C and I smell musty air, cut grass, melting black asphalt and other oppressive smells of the Ol' South. My aunt calls my sister and me inside and sits us both down on the bed. "Stolie," she says in a rural southern drawl, "yaar grandfather daayead." But, I'm only 9. I don't understand death yet. It would be years before I would learn that Grandpa Tucker died of cirrhosis of the liver (a.k.a "he drank himself to death"). In the meantime, to attend the funeral in Illinois, we drive 645.16 miles / 1,038.28 kilometres over 11 hours and 32 minutes. It's strange to me. This person-this human being, my grandfather-with whom I've danced, talked, laughed, smiled, and spoken is gone. All that remains is a cold, suit-donned, lifeless body lying still in the coffin before me.
Technorati Tag: death