Friday, August 8, 2008

Safe Travels

Tonight Thing One needs to go to a funeral. It was a long process getting there.
This time last week, we recieved a phone call letting us know that Thing One's grandfather (who he lovingly called Uncle David) had passed away. He had been suffering with pancreatic cancer, recieving treatments that had seemed to be going well. Suddenly, the cancer (as it does) stealthily invaded his brain, and within 24 hours he was gone.

It's hard to explain to a 7 yr old how death works. He sobbed, he questioned. He worried about everything from the standard "Where did he go" to "What will happen to his things?". It's complicated, it's heartbreaking. It's loss. We sat together, Thing One, his Daddy, step-mom and I and talked about death, funerals, bereavement. We allowed Thing One to choose if he wanted to attend the funerals. After a few quiet days of thinking about it, he expressed his desire to go.

As a mother, this is hard. I can't be there with him, I have to turn over my grieving child to a family who in turn is grieving. It breaks my heart that I won't be holding his hand and wiping his tears. I also need to remember that this is his experience, not mine. I know he will be taken care of.

Over the last few days, Thing One has been covered in ink. His hands have blue streaks all over them, extending up to his elbows and across his left cheek. Sometimes, he cries blue tears. Finally, I have been allowed to view that which has occupied his free time and all available pens. Uncle David loved trains, he was an avid collector and the first to bestow that love unto my son. For Thing One, it's a symbol of love for a man since passed.

"Safe travels as an angel, Uncle David. Love Noah."


Anissa Mayhew said...

Oh. That broke my heart.

As I have had to have that talk with my kids several times this year, I know exactly how hard it is to explain a lost love one. What a sweet boy you have, that picture speaks volumes of what a loving little one you have. I can only imagine how much your son is going to miss him.

I tell my kids that they can write a letter any time to the friends we've lost and if they address it to God, he'll read it to them. That helps them when they want to talk to them.

Violet the Verbose said...

Oh my gosh, I'm all teared up. That is so, so, so sweet. Hugs to all of you.