A two year old can get away with a lot. The one story I brought back with me from my first time in Japan, the one I will never forget, was how when I was doing my home stay weekend, my host mother received a call right before dinner about how her grandmother had passed away in her sleep that day. While riding the train. The rest of the weekend went completely normally. I was shocked, to say the least.
My wife’s grandfather passed away this morning.
Not knowing what to say or do in any situation, any language, can be paralyzing. Just like how I sat there not knowing what to say to my host mother, today I ran around the house of my wife’s grandfather not exactly knowing what to do with a two year old who was just so excited that day. Great-grandpa was sleeping, he would say time and time again. There were lots of people. He was excited. Most of us felt sad.
There was a fake, plush flower that played Für Elise when squeezed. My son kept squeezing it. No one seemed to mind. People came in and out of the house, paying their respects to his great-grandfather. Later in the evening, we sat around the table making the necessary preparations for the next few days. I glanced over to find my son running towards me. There sat his great-grandmother in front of her husband’s body holding the plush flower. My son had passed it to her. It hummed Für Elise for a moment and then stopped.
I want to pretend there is something significant here. Something deep. That, however, ignores the reality. Which is that it is already significant, even if there is no hidden meaning. It is life, and it is beautiful.