He died in the early hours of this morning.
It was expected. He's been ill for decades, his heart and all sorts wrong with him, and then the last few months he's been in and out of hospital, intensive care units and isolation wards.
A week or so ago he was allowed home. Unfortunately he was completely wheelchair-bound, and "home" was a third-floor flat in a block with no lift, where the internal doors were too slim to admit a wheelchair - so that amounted to bedbound. I know my grandfather. He likes to walk in the forest and go to the shops to choose his own food. He was a very active and social person. Being bedbound would drive him utterly bananas, and at home would be worse than at hospital as at least at hospital there are other patients and doctors to chat to.
Mum says that he was expecting this and was prepared for it - all his paperwork and everything was in order and everything is set. The funeral is later this week, a church service, more for the religious members of the family than for him. He's requested no grave or anything like that, he doesn't want us travelling to Germany just to come look at a bit of stone.
When mum told me, my initial reaction was "well, that was expected", but that was probably because she'd built up the conversation - "Are you sitting down? Is Steve with you? I have some bad news...", I mean, there was only a limited number of things it could be. As she explained more about what had happened, about the time and about everything being prepared, I began to cry and I spent quite some time just crying, even after we'd hung up.
But since then I've been remembering lots of the great things my grandfather did with and for my sister and me, places we went, songs we sang, and so on. Recently we'd been writing letters to each other using automatic translation tools, but one sentence at a time, painstakingly trying to make sure it still made sense. I swear an old-fashioned paper Collins English/German dictionary would have been quicker and easier, but at least we could make each other laugh and we knew we cared.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do now, if I should be sending cards or flowers or anything to my grandmother or my mum or my uncle. I'm sort of at a loose end.