Death sucks. There really isn't any nice way to put it if you are being real. Of course, when people are suffering and are sick for an extended period of time we hear people say, "It is a blessing that they aren't suffering anymore". I guess . . . but it still sucks. When people pass away unexpectedly, we hear people say, "At least they didn't suffer" or "At least they weren't sick for a long time". Okay . . . but it still sucks. When there is an accident or something terrible happens that makes no sense at all then we hear people say, "It doesn't make sense but God must have needed another angel" or something along those lines. Of course, in those circumstances we also hear people utter the truth now and then, too . . . "I'm so sorry . . . there is nothing else to say. It sucks."
Okay - I typed the word suck entirely too much for my liking in that last paragraph but it is true that death is very difficult on the living. It brings about a lot of emotions. At my grandfather's funeral today, I couldn't help but think about my father passing someday. It isn't going to happen any time soon (he promised) but it is going to happen eventually. I also thought about things I did with my grandfather when I was younger. I thought about his laugh and how I would never hear it again. I thought about his smile, how he always smelled like cigar smoke and how much he loved my children. I thought about holidays without his stories and what his signature looked like on every birthday card I've ever received.
A lot of times, though, these thoughts were interrupted by a little hand grabbing mine or a little girl winding herself up in my sweater, refusing to be ignored. You see, we decided that our 6 and 5 year old children were old enough to go to the viewing last night and the funeral today...I'd like to share with you a little bit about why I would (and wouldn't) make the same choice again.
Why I would leave them at home:
- My daughter, Danika, thought the funeral was more like a party. Innocent, I know, but she didn't understand that it wasn't appropriate to run around and laugh or be excited. She actually had FUN at the funeral...I was kind of embarrassed about it but also knew it wasn't her fault and that it came from her not fully grasping what was going on.
-My son, Nate, was the opposite. He was afraid of my grandfather's body because it wasn't moving but he recognized him. He didn't go anywhere near the casket until most of the other mourners had left and it was just me, my parents and close relatives (aunts and uncles). Then, he went up with my dad and did a great job.
- They were both a distraction. Nate was a lot calmer but I was worried about him. He didn't look like himself most of the time because he was being so shy and reserved. He looked scared and it distracted me because I wanted him to talk to me if he needed to talk...I wanted to know that he was okay. Danika was a distraction because she never stopped asking questions. That's not 100% true . . . when she wasn't asking questions she was getting glasses of water from the water fountain, running to the potty, grabbing some Kleenex, complaining that she was hungry, trying to run across the room to her grandparents or making some kind of unidentifiable noise that just annoyed the crap out of me. She was the biggest distraction in the room.
Why I would take them again:
- They had already lost 2 great grandparents since they were born and ask about them every once in a while. I think taking them today helped them to understand a little better where their great grandmothers have gone and what it means when we say someone has died.
- They got to see a lot of people that they normally don't see. There are cousins, distant relatives, etc. that you really do only see at weddings and funerals. I was glad that my kids got to meet some of them over the last 2 days. Although, I do wish it would have been a wedding instead! It was nice for them to see how many people loved their Dadone and how he touched a lot of different people's lives.
- They didn't mind being squeezed a little. This is a totally selfish reason...as much as I complained about them being a distraction, they didn't mind one bit when I needed a hug or a hand to hold. They were there for me, snuggled up close, to make me smile and remember that life does go on.
- They helped others in the grieving process, too. In all honesty, I know that seeing my children there helped a few of the people who were closest to my grandfather remember the things that he loved (like my kids) and they remembered good times with him because they remembered how happy he was when he was around them. His widow even remarked, "He really loved those kids" to everyone who saw them. It was good for us all to have them there.
So - if I had it to do over again, I would probably take my children to the funeral of my grandfather. I think the positive outweighs the negative and I am happy that they are now part of my memories of the day I said goodbye to a man who has loved me my whole life.
Sorry for the "deep" post today . . . it's out of my system now and it will be business as usual from here on out! (Whatever "usual" is! hehehe)
Take a break from the gloom and head on over to THIS POST - to enter our Pampered Chef Giveaway . . . come on, I know I could use a brownie about now!!!
This post is linked at: Pour Your Heart Out with Things I Can't Say