Looking it up, I found his death record. I knew it was Louisiana, but for some reason I thought it was Shreveport, not Stonewall. The site I was at helpfully displays a little map of the area with a pin for where they died and the nearest cemeteries. He died in '89 and I didn't exactly know him (and by exactly I mean at all). So it's not like I went to the funeral and it's not like my father ever talked about it, suggested we visit... any of that. For as high as the pedestal my father had his father on - he never actually liked him or felt liked by him. He went because he had do. His legacy was a tie clip rolled up in a cigarette wrapper that he shoved into a drawer and left there.
So my grandfather died (killed himself - I guess that makes it different) in the middle of nowhere, not even a major road anywhere near wherever it was he was living. I think it was a motel of some kind. Not the kind you generally live in for more than a day or two - and he'd been there for awhile. No record of his next of kin in the report. No record of his location of birth. His social security number is from California. And he was 71 years old when he died. The index site helpfully offers "historical event" links beside the date of birth and date of death. So that you can swell with pride knowing your second cousin was born on the same day as Rupert Murdoch or that there was some minor war in a minor country on the other side of the world that ceased fire that day. They don't list anything important on either of the dates in my grandfather's death information. The days are just skipped over. Which feels more correct to me than if they'd been strikingly significant.
I have seen photos of this guy from when he was young and handsome and scrappy. I have no image of him (mental or otherwise) from his later years. So it's strange thinking of the cocky ass who beat his wife and lied to his kid about his war exploits and sold him off to the military as a way of washing his hands of any filial responsibility ever being old and sick and slowly dying. I think of him with his little mustache and his army uniform from the days when the pants still billowed out to the sides like riding pants. Pint sized Erol Flynn with his shiny hair and his smirk. Why I think of this stranger ghost at all is the part I don't understand. My family is dominated by resilient women whose husbands were poorly chosen or just ineffectual. My family history is a history of women subjugating themselves needlessly to domineering men who made up for being useless by also being mean. There are a few exceptions. But most of them are dead too.
And that's my morbid and morose line of thought for the day out of the way, then.