He had a pretty good life, I think, although none of us could understand why he remained with my grandmother for so long. But that's another issue entirely. My grandfather wasn't an eloquent or especially learned person, we never discussed books or art beyond old newspaper strips and movies. He grew up without a father, his family was poor, he served in WW2, he drove a cab in Brooklyn and Manhattan for a long time, he worked very, very hard to support his family, he had two daughters and a wife who I will try not to say anything terrible about, because, well, she was a pretty terrible person. Well, there goes that. He was a regular Brooklyn guy, he wouldn't have been out of place as an old movie extra in a bar or street scene talking back to the radio or cheering on a ball team as part of the crowd. He loved the Dodgers, and after they abandoned NYC he eventually had the Mets to root for. He was just a decent, good guy, of course not without faults, but that's the way it goes.
We weren't incredibly close, but we got along well and I was very fond of him and loved him best of all my grandparents. When I last spoke to him on the phone a few weeks ago after his last accident, he sounded like he wanted to go and was saying goodbye. Just like a scene from a cliched movie, I got off the phone and cried my eyes out. My mother told me the night before he died he had tentatively agreed that he would move into a home where he could be cared for. He was very stubborn about living on his own, about doing for himself, and about trying not to bother others to the point of it being a little ridiculous and counter-productive. He was still driving up until a month ago, which, frankly, always scared the hell out of me. I used to tell people not to drive in Queens in the daytime. Queens is now a safer place. My grandfather died in his sleep. He never had to go to a rest home. In a lame movie, the family would sit around and wonder if he simply had had enough and lost the will to go on because he couldn't live alone and fend for himself. So, of course, that's what we did. It's hard not to wonder.
I appreciate that some of you folks might wish to comment about our loss, but I'd also appreciate it if you'd refrain from doing so. I feel weird posting about this, on a live journal usually filled with nonsense. But I know I'd feel weird not posting about it, as when Sarah's brother passed away several months ago, which was truly tragic and which we're still not completely over. My grandfather lived a long time, enjoyed his time here, and was surrounded by family in his last years. We should all live so.