My grandma passed away a few days ago. We didn't interact very much, but others in my family did.
"She ruled with an iron fist," my dad said. He was talking about her stint as president of her nursing home, dementia be damned. I knew her well enough to believe it. I suppose this extended to other parts of her life, and isolated this could make her seem imposing. I believe that, too.
But then her dementia got worse. She passed on her title to someone else in the nursing home, hand-picked. He didn't believe he was up to the task. "And then she peered down at him and said, 'You can.'" When my dad shared that with me, I heard her voice, not his, her face filling my head, still imposing, but also with a strength I sometimes find difficult to emulate. I remembered that I liked her a lot.
Today her ghost is distracting and I find it difficult to work. Instead my mind looks for reasons to regret. Sometimes I indulge and it hurts. I guess that's grieving.