I have only been to one funeral in about 30 years. My grandpa died back in 2001 before 9/11. In February I remember it being oddly warm. I also remember him being super quiet, but very stern.
When he was sick we would stay in bed. He stopped working, we stopped hiking. My grandma spent every moment taking care of him. One thing we had in common, it wasn’t much was we both liked candy.
Mostly my grandpa would eat licorice, to this day when I have some Red Vines, or Twizzlers I still think of him. I am not sure why but apparently licorice has a bad wrap in the candy community. It's hard, and doesn't always taste the best, unless it's strawberry, but for some reason black licorice was always present. It matched my grandpa’s harsh exterior, but when you took a bite, he had some soft chewy moments.
I cannot imagine what it was like to provide for your family, just to unexpectedly leave it. I am thinking it is like when you start one of those shoe string licorice strands, the kind you get at the shore. That is like your lifeline. By the time you get to the end, you’re so preoccupied with preservation for what you have built, you don't notice you run out of rope.
It makes me nauseous, sometimes when I reach for some of my past relatives' favorite things. For the longest I have known him he always smoked a pipe, I remember sitting in his chair one night, blowing bubbles, all while smoke erupted in a cloud. I used to marvel at the smoke, it looked really mysterious and still to this day I only know him from a surface level. Sharing my love for lemons, Ironically I started eating them to quit smoking, I am pretty sure my grandpa smoked since he was 8 years old.
In large amounts if consumed enough licorice can decrease swelling, coughing- I remember being sick one time at my grandparents and having brandy. I was 8. In the USA, many licorice products only contain anise, and not actual licorice. When I am behind the bar I get oddly nostalgic when I see Angostura bitters. It's supposed to settle your stomach but when I eat it, I always 1: Kill the entire pack and 2: make straws and stick them in my drinks. It's messy. It's a pretty tough thing to digest, even though it aids in digestion, kinda like a 9 year old trying to comprehend death for the first time.
The day of his funeral the clock in my grandparents dining room stopped working for the first time ever. The numbers added up to how old he was, 61. Today that is pretty young. He never looked his age, always much older I guess that makes sense when you have been working your entire life. I am forever grateful to someone I barely got to know, I just get really into my licorice, and think about Stan.
It's traditional for my family at funerals to put rocks on the headstone of the person who died. I should have put a piece of licorice, instead of my rock. My grandpa loved to travel, he saw much of the world with my grandma and provided funding for each of his grandchildren to take a trip with my grandma. I know he would have loved to have accompanied me to Italy.
I think he still travels a lot. Just in a different timeline and dimension. I am not sure what he would think if we met again. But I know we would be able to at least share a snack.