Dealing with death is never easy for anyone but it is especially hard for children to understand and cope with. Or so I thought it would be! Last week this time I was up mentally and emotionally preparing myself to say goodbye to my grandpa. The quick version is He had been in the hospital with pneumonia several times and this time just seemed to not be able to kick it and come off the ventilator. So sometime around the 2 am hour on Wednesday the 5th he passed away while the song “I’ll Fly Away” played on the radio. My Granny, my mom & Step dad were there to see him off.
Now I had already told my girls (age 8 & 4) that Sam (what we called my Grandpa) was sick and in the hospital so they knew he was sick. So the next day I prepared myself to tell them that he had passed. I actually Googled it so I had the right words and didn’t get into too much. I found a very helpful article on babycenter.com that gave me some great tips and verbiage. There were actually two articles that i came across on their site that broke it down by age group as in preschoolers and schoolagers. So I sat them both down and told them that Sam had died. My oldest’s response was, “Awe…..can i have a snack.” And my youngest wanted to know, “Who is Granny gonna have now?” meaning who was Granny gonna live with. I told her that Granny has Scooter, which is her dog and that we would visit & Granny has friends too. And that was it. There were no questions after that. They handled that part well. I decided not to take them to the funeral home because I didn’t think the youngest would handle it well so my husband stayed home with them while I went.
The next day was the graveside service and we took them with us. It wasn’t graveside actually it was a service held in the mausoleum. So on the way there I explained what they would see. I told them about the casket being kind of like a big pretty box and that Sam was in that box but they wouldn’t see him. I told them about the Pallbearer and how they would roll the casket in the room, and someone would say a prayer and talk about Sam a little and then they would pray again. I also told them that they may see Granny crying and other people crying and that was ok because Granny was sad. We arrived at the graveyard and started walking towards the mausoleum and they were getting ready to pull his casket out of the hearse. We stopped while they finished that part. My husband had hold of my oldest daughter and he said she squeezed his hand at that point. He was worried about them getting upset during the service. He loves his girls more than anything! We proceeded on down to the family and stood outside while they prepared for the last viewing for the grandchildren and anyone else. After that was done we were led into the room. The girls sat quietly, my youngest checked out all the flowers that were on the walls and was amazed at how they got them all up so high. Then while walking out she looked up and me with those beautiful blue eyes and said, “I’m sure gonna miss Sam.” I lost it there for a minute!
The rest of the day was filled with laughter and memories! The girls know that Sam is in Heaven and have dealt with it well. I’m proud of my girls and my parenting skills 🙂