Grandparents Don’t Die When They Should, But When They Can

Death Grandmother

My grandmother has terminal stage lung cancer and she will die in a month or two. She won’t live to see the biography of Oliver Colors published. Should I blame myself, or should I blame her?

What worries me now is the thought that I might not cry at her funeral.

I love my grandmother. Of all my grandparents she is the one I most resemble. From her I have inherited my fastidious, hypochondriac, solitary, reclusive, woeful character. She is the best cook I know. And she is kind.

Her eyes are blue, and her nose is proud, and her hands are gentle and soft. And she is sad because she has seen her only son, my father, die.

We’ve never been on the same frequency though, me and grandmother. I have never discussed with her personal matters. Mind you, neither have I with my mother. Solitude has created a hard shell around me, and it will take a special person to break it.

A note about crying

It’s easy to cry when you’re by yourself, but it’s hard to cry in front of others. Tears are molten pearls, and for shy and sad persons like me they are treasures. We don’t want others to see them.

It’s not that I try to look though. I am short and frail and have never punched anyone. And I often weep myself to sleep because of trivial matters.


They are big gatherings of relatives… People who, you seldom see crowd in the home of the deceased and offer their condolences to her descendants. I have already come up with a general-purpose reply:

‘Thank you. She was a good woman. And only 74 years of age… Such misfortune!’

And then, for dramatic impression, I shall sigh.


Grandparents die so us young people can live. Not enough resources, overpopulation, and so on. I can understand that and I will get over the death of my grandmother in a month or two.

This event will change my life though. After she is gone I will have to look after grandfather. Responsibilities shall be heaped before the hatted boy’s door, and he will have to leave his attic to take care of them. He shall! And this going out might do him good. He might even find himself a sweetheart…

When my father died I couldn’t cry.

When my grandmother dies I shall try.

Do you cry at funerals?

46 thoughts on “Grandparents Don’t Die When They Should, But When They Can

  1. I agree completely with your reasoning to secret away your tears I do that too. Hope your new responsiblity still leaves you some time to write. I know you really don’t want to hear this but I have to say, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother.

  2. I lost my granddad last June, think of it as you don’t have to cry, let your emotions be free, don’t try and hold it back.

  3. I only saw my grandmother once in England when I visited her and she died whilst I was there. I never knew my grandfather he passed before we met. My parents are both in their mid 80’s and now becoming very frail. You love your grandmother and you shall take care of your grandfather – for he will need you and you shall remind him of his lost love in life. Cry at the Funeral hatted boy – there is no shame to be felt in shedding molten pearls for they spring from the red volcano known as the heart.

      1. only if I can borrow molten pearls 🙂 I thought the same when I read what you had written and then what I added… mutual feeling I guess that this ‘had something’. Borrow away and thank you.

  4. Thank you for this post and the earlier post about your father. My grandfather died Friday and the funeral is Wednesday. We weren’t on good terms; for the last decade we weren’t on any terms. So if I cry at his funeral, well, it won’t be because I miss him, but maybe other reasons. On a positive note, this post made me hope to be as helpful to my grandmother afterward as you will be to your grandfather. And maybe to write a little faster, while remembering that things happen when they can.

  5. Mourn in your own way and in your time. My grandmother died last year, while we were close, we weren’t at the same time. I never talked to her about personal things either; but she’s always been there. I didn’t cry at her funeral or in private, for my grandmother was a great woman and she’s off doing her thing in another place. I miss her but she still brings a smile to my face through the memories of space.

    Thank you for making me remember her even more!

    And hold you’re head up, because life is drawn in moments, moments turn into seasons, and seasons end and a new begin. Maybe, maybe a new season is on its way for you.

    All the best.

  6. I don’t cry at funerals either. When I was younger I thought that something was wrong with me. So I tried to make myself cry, which didn’t really work. Eventually I accepted that I don’t cry at funerals, I don’t cry when I’m told that a relative has died. I may ponder their deaths for a moment, reflect on the fact that they are gone. But for some reason- no tears. I was never really close to my grandparents, so maybe that’s it. But I do miss my uncle who was a sorry drunk, but I still loved him and wish that I would have had more time with him as an adult (I was 14 when he died). But even at his funeral I didn’t cry.

  7. I can identify with you about granmothers. Mine was a stubborn woman that worked most of her life. Dec 23, she asked me to go for dinner with the family. I said no. On Dec 24 she died. I felt like crap.

  8. I really relate to what you wrote – right down to thinking through your actions at the funeral – I do that. I don’t cry at funerals. Tears don’t penetrate numbness. I find at some point, usually afterwards, something small will trigger a tearfall. I still miss my gran.

      1. She died last May, the last time I talked to her was ages before that – she went deaf and couldn’t hear me on the phone. My grandfather died in 1990 … I miss both of them but less so because I’m sad and more so because I have many vivid, happy memories of them from my childhood.

  9. There does’t seem to be a right way of grieving, and whether you cry or not doesn’t necessary mean that you do or do not feel sad about someone’s passing away. Perhaps a lack of tears would be just as meaningful as crying.
    On the bright side, the memory of her will live on in the post you wrote, immortalising her in a sense.

  10. I get it. Really, I do. There’s this bond because you’re related, but, really, very little emotional connection. They’re your grandparents, and you love them for that, but beyond that? I didn’t cry at my grandfather’s funeral last December. I was sad because:

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
    Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thine own
    Or of thine friend’s were.
    Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.

    – John Donne

    But, beyond that?

    Still, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, and especially any pain she must be experiencing. I’m certain, though, that getting out of the attic will be good for you. 😉

  11. Hello Vincent, your grandmother must be proud to have such a thoughtful and intelligent grandson. My grannie also had a proud nose which I unfortunately inherited! Perhaps in heaven they will meet up and see that they were so well spoken of on your blog 🙂

  12. You’re a sensitive soul, Vincent. Whether others see you cry or not is not important. Your grandmother would understand, I’m sure. You honour her here with your words… that is important.

  13. Why should you cry?
    Everyone will die!

    As a writer
    You can write

    About your grand mother
    and about your grand father

    Then, your son
    and your grand son

    will read about them
    and learn about them

    Someday, you will die
    But, they will alive

    I wish your grand mother a long life.

  14. I hope you do find that wonderful sweetheart! That fills your heart with joy and provokes it to sing from the moment you wake up ’til the moment you sleep.

    Take care of your grandpa well and be careful.
    Take care of your heart and also be careful.
    Take advantage of your life and… do what you feel. This might be the beginning of your life.
    And to think, you need your grandma to die to have the courage…

    Answering your question, I cry even watching some cartoons so…


  15. Even such is time which takes in trust
    Our youth, our joys and all we have
    And leaves us but with age and dust….

    Life is a story, is it not? Death is the last line. All I ask of you is that you read the story, and that will make you laugh, or cry. For if it was a joyful, amusing life, there is nothing wrong with being glad, or even laughing inside at funerals. Allow yourself a quiet smile and be happy for the liberation of something loved.

If you leave me a comment I will send you an invisible gift.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s