Link, or Grandpa Link, as he was called by our younger family members, died on March 21. Unfortunately, my family was not officially related to Link. Therefore, we didn't find out he died until May 7.
Our family is mourning the loss of man who we truly loved and will miss. As my niece wrote so eloquently,
"...his life mattered! He mattered to me! You were loved!I don't care about what your relationship was like or what your history with him was, he was a good man and a loving member of OUR family."
Link had been a part of our family for years and years. He was in family photos at the weddings of my niece and my nephew. Whenever my son and his family were in the area where Link lived (about 500 miles from their house), they scheduled time to visit Link.
Link died in an assisted-living facility where he was placed by a biological daughter. Yes, Link was having memory problems. He needed the care; but he didn't need the isolation. Daughter and her siblings seldom saw him. They never spent holidays with him. They seldom invited him to dinner or other family celebrations. None of us in OUR family were allowed to know where he was. We were told not to visit, send cards, or call him.
So, how did we find out about his death? My mother called his daughter to ask if she could send Link a birthday card. Daughter said, "Oh, he died March 23rd." We don't know if he was buried or cremated. We don't know if his ashes were placed somewhere, or scattered, or are just sitting in a closet.
The lesson in this, if there is a lesson. Please don't hold grudges. The pain can last for a long time. And for some people you don't even know.
And, again, as my niece wrote,
"Thank you, Grandma, for making him a part of our family and for all of the unconditional love, respect and kindness you showed to him despite the obstacles you faced."