In the past month three people I care a great deal for have passed away: my stepmother's father, my mother's father, and one of my best friends' father.
It's been strange and surreal. Both grandfathers were old and lived fufulling lives and of course the end was inevitable, but still sad. The death of my good friend's dad, however, is much more shocking and sudden and upsetting. He was like a second dad to me in LA, because my friend Ali is from Santa Monica and when I first moved out here I lived with her parents. Over the past few years I would visit with them sporadically; when my dad and stepmom were in town (they were friends after Ali and I studied in Paris and all the parents came out with us and hung out together), when I would house sit for them, when I would visit Ali's mom's art studio...
I missed the service for Ali's dad this week because I'm in Florida with my family -- my grandfather only passed away last Friday, and my brother and I flew out as soon as we could. It's strange being here without him. It's strange being here without my mom either. This is a place that reminds me so much of her, and of course, of him. I used to come out here at least twice a year before I moved to Los Angeles. Before I was working and I had time to spare and Florida was a mere three hour flight from the Northeast, it was the easiest and most pleasant vacation to take in the world. It's been four years since I was last here but nothing has changed. It's as though my grandfather is just out on a walk or something. My same shampoo sits in the cabinet below the sink next to a bottle of my mom's favorite nail polish. The gardenia lotion she used every day before she passed away nearly eight years ago is still here too. I put it on and my senses are flooded with memories - of her, of being in Florida together, of taking walks on the beach, of my grandfather, of all the people I've loved and lost.
Life is so precious.