My maternal grandfather died in December 1973, when I was 6 years old. I remember exactly 3 things about that period:
(1) When he was in the hospital. No specific memories of visiting, just generic “hospital” images. We bought a little “Santa’s boot” ornament at the gift shop. From then on it was “Grandpa’s boot” and I still hang it on the tree every year.
(2) Grandma crying on my father’s shoulder. This must have been shortly after he died. I don’t remember how word came, or whether any family were with him.
(3) The day of the funeral, driving out to the very rural cemetery. It had just snowed, and the trees were all tall and frosty and beautiful. I don’t remember anything about the service or burial.
I don’t remember much else about my grandfather, for that matter. He was overweight and balding, and he liked his whisky and chaw, and he was kind of gruff. I liked to jump on top of him as he lay on the couch, and I remember getting in a little trouble for doing it once when he was asleep.
He was only 65 when he died, but I remember thinking that that was impossibly old. My mother, his second-youngest daughter, is now 66.