Here’s one way to have a good death: first, spend the whole rest of your life making sure a lo of people care about you. In the process, build an exemplary devoted marriage to man who’s tough, devoted, and funny, and raise your own medical staff – a couple of nurses, a pharmacist, a doctor who’s “family by choice”. That’s all you have to think about until your final year or so, after a long and full life. When that comes around, have a few major medical episodes just so that your death doesn’t come as a huge shock to anyone, but recover sufficiently to stay in your own home (this is where the tough and devoted husband is important). Plan a big celebration so that the people who care about you clear their calendars and get ready to come visit. They’ll be disappointed when it doesn’t happen, but they’ll be glad they already had plans to visit. Then schedule a quick final decline, in a tiny local hospice with outstanding care, and make sure you respond just enough that people who come to see you know that you knew they were there.

Unfortunately, the above is experience speaking. Rudder, who had four living grandparents when he turned 40 last Christmas, now has only his two grandfathers. The only thing Rudder’s paternal grandmother could have done to make her death any easier on everyone would have been not to die only two months after his maternal grandmother; his parents are pretty traumatized. We had to miss this grandmother’s memorial service, which will be this Saturday, but we were there in time to see her, and I think to provide a lot of support to his parents, grandfather, and other family. His brother will be there for the service, so they’ll have him to lean on.

We left Tuesday to come to Sacramento as planned with his mother, to spend some time with his other grandfather (who has been firmly informed by his daughter that he is to be sure to stay around for some time). Rudder’s dad and his two sinblings will stay there for the whole week, but his mom needed to be here to be with her father on his wedding anniversary (the two sets of grandparents had anniversaries only a few days apart).

Tomorrow we leave to go see my parents. Everyone there had damn well better be in good shape, is all I can say.