As expected Grandma is the most stoic person here. With all the kids and grandchildren, most of whom are adults, there are a lot of voices. It’s hard to know what’s best and everyone has an opinion, but at the same time we’re all following Grandma’s lead and working very hard to remember Grandpa with positive and upbeat memories. Sometimes we even joke and laugh, because that’s what Grandpa did best. He had a kind word for everyone and a joke or story always at the ready.

I’ve discussed it before, but Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light is one of the most poignant stories about death that I read as a teenager. It’s a book I’ll recommend over and over. I wonder if my cousin, 15, would appreciate it right now. Someone said the grandchildren — there are 15 of us ranging from 42-9 — are taking grandpa’s death really hard. I would think 15 is the hardest age of all: old enough to feel the full weight of what has happened, but not yet fully possessing the tools to cope. Despite the subject matter, there is a joy in L’Engle’s book. One I see here as I am surrounded by a family who is struggling to celebrate grandpa even as we all desperately miss him.