“I’m not my grandfather. I’m never going to be. He was wonderful, wasn’t he? I never knew. I wish I had known him better while he was alive. It isn’t making up for it, but I will have to get to know him better now, with what there is left of him. You miss him, don’t you? You must, I guess. I won’t ignore what’s here. Still, you have to understand. I’m not him. I will not be doing all of the same things as him. Some of those traditions are not me. Can we try together? I want to know him better and you can show me. If I learn about it, even if I don’t continue it… it won’t be lost. Not between the two of us.”
The cottage did nothing to reply that Salma could tell. Then again, that meant nothing. The cottage did many thing that meant something Salma hadn’t been able to interpret. Partially her fault. Just as much the fault of a grieving cottage.
Dying could be considered similar to sleeping. Except much more painful, in his case, and counting sheep didn’t help at all.
“When is this going to be over?” his friend asked. It wasn’t the first time the other man had seen him die, after all. It wasn’t often this brutal.
He couldn’t respond. Again, this particular time the death was much like sleeping. That close to conscious sleep, where one couldn’t rouse from their bed, where their surroundings had just come into perspective. He thought he knew how much time he had left, but counting made it worse. He tried to start up again anyway, if just to know how much time was left. In general.
“I wish you hadn’t made me promise to be here,” his friend continued. “Would you know if I left?”
Sure he would, he was aware enough right now. Though perhaps he might have considered it a dream, if the other told him something else. Perhaps the pain made him dream it.
Yet he was not left alone. He waited, knowing it had to be hard to stick around. He couldn’t process the mess he must have looked like, but he knew it was bad. He could feel it.
Not alone. Eventually he died.