10 December 2008
Yesterday was my hubby's father's funeral.
He wore a kilt in honour of his dad, who was Scottish; Rob was sent off with the bagpipes playing and a lovely service, with many tears.
What can I say? It's been so emotional, this last week.
My hubby got a call from the hospital last Wednesday morning (can it be only a week ago??) to say, "You'd better get in here, your dad has taken a turn for the worst..."
It came as a huge shock because we had only received the dreaded "Cancer" diagnosis 5 days earlier. The prognosis had been: "Weeks to Months" and so we had been planning a last Christmas with Grandad.
All of a sudden, weeks/months had turned into days.
I followed my gut instinct and insisted to my poor panic-stricken husband that we take the kids up straight away to see grandad. He is now so glad that we did. That brief hug and kiss was their goodbye. Only a day later Rob had passed peacefully from this world to the next.
The kids took it hard, struggling to understand what it meant that grandad had died.
Dash said, "It's not fair!" and ran to his room and slammed the door.
But God has been so good to us; it just so happened that my mum and dad (who live 7 hours away) were in town visiting, so the children were greatly comforted by having their other grandparents close at such a time.
Dash kept sidling up to my dad and wrapping himself around him, clinging on for all it was worth; it brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful that God arranged things this way, to comfort my precious babies.
Princess is usually the emotional barometer of our family, and true-to-form we have had a tough week with her, behaviour-wise.
We decided on Monday that it was probably best if she stayed with friend rather than attend the funeral, and this has turned out to be the best decision for her.
On the other hand, nothing would stop Dash from being there, in every sense of the word.
He had been dreaming about his grandad, and we had decided not to let him view the open casket, as we were worried what it could mean for his vivid imagination.
However, he was determined. When we weren't looking, he tried to sneak into the viewing room to see his Grandad. At that point we decided to go with his wishes and took him by the hand and went in with him.
Dash went very quiet, and sat on the chair next to Grandad's head. He insisted on staying there, while I stood beside him, until the coffin was closed for the service. Then he clutched the framed photograph of himself and his Grandad, and went to sit by himself in the front row watching the slideshow.
He sat taking it all in, refusing all cuddles, just needing his space to process it all.
When he did accept an arm around him, it was daddy he needed.
He says regularly and out-of-the-blue, "I am so sad Grandad died, are you?" and "I wish Grandad didn't die, do you?"
But I really think it helped him seeing his Grandad. He looked peaceful, and not too strange. It seems to have helped Dash settle something in his heart.
He has not let go of the framed photo.
Our hearts go out to our little guy, so brave, so mature. We are so proud of him.
It's such an unknown thing, how do we help our little people understand their loss, and grieve, without burdening them with too much information?
We have spent a lot of time answering the children's questions; reassuring them that the real Grandad is in heaven with Jesus.
Step by step we are feeling our way, answering questions as they come up, making special time to just be together. The Christmas rush has been put on hold. The Christmas Party has been postponed and turned into a Thanksgiving BBQ.
All of a sudden the unimportant has melted away and what we are left with is a gratitude to God for his love and Grace, and a renewed sense of closeness to family. Which I guess is actually what Christmas is really all about anyway... xx