For the last 8 and a bit years, I have known what I will be naming my first son. Despite my constant emotional blackmail, Dad wouldn't have been happy dieting and was a confirmed smoker. His huge heart gave out on a Friday night shortly after I made Aliyah.
With no grandparents, I have not had to worry about close family members since - until now - Zeidy is not doing too well. Since I met my wife, I have been blessed with 3 new grandparents who I finally got to meet during our recent visit to the States. We took to each other really well and at the hard parting, I really felt like we had made a wonderful connection.
Zeidy has been ill for some time now and has been deteriorating even in the time since we started dating. I had been concerned that we wouldn't make it in to the States in time for me to meet him but thank G-d these fears were unfounded. Since then however, a complication has arisen and the two of us just sat, crying our eyes out as we talked about what the future holds.
Dealing with the circle of life, I find myself dealing with immense contradictions. From one side, I count my blessings that my father passed away quickly, sitting in his chair, having eaten dinner with my mother on a Friday night. From the other point of view, I never got to properly say goodbye. Being able to properly say goodbye however, implies that death is expected, with all the suffering that accompanies it. I know that it was for the best that Dad didn't suffer - probably for my own mental health too. Now I am having to deal with the same dilemna for Zeidy.
The traditional blessing "Ad Mea Ve'Esrim" - you should live until 12o, is certainly a mixed blessing when the person being blessed is suffering. To wish that Zeidy should live until 120 is a selfish wish - dealing with the alternative will be hard for me and harder still for my wife and her family, but it will put an end to his suffering. It's a hard place to be in; a battle between what you heart and your brain tell you is right.
The example that we have received from parents and Grandparents sets us both a high standard which try to follow. When p.G. we have children, I hope that they will merit to inherit the character traits of their wonderful ancestors.