I was four when I lost my great-grandpa to cancer. BigBrother is four. I have vague memories of running around the funeral home with a cousin of mine who was slightly older. I also have fleeting, brief memories of the man who was the equivalent of Big Papau to my sons. I am hoping that BigBrother will retain some memories as well.
We chose not to tell BigBrother right away. We decided to let him attend indoor soccer practice that day (Sunday) as they only have two practices before they start playing games. He kept asking why I was sad. I kept telling him that we’d talk about it after soccer. And still, I didn’t tell him until we made the drive to my parents’ house. We told him that Big Papau had died. He asked a question or two and that was that for the evening.
The children attended both viewings with us. I need to have a Proud Mommy moment where I tell you that they were so well behaved that I wondered if they were really my children. In the moments before the first viewing, as we took time as individuals and families to look at Big Papau in the casket and say some goodbyes, we explained again that Big Papau was dead. Shortly after, BigBrother was heard telling someone to be quiet since Big Papau was sleeping.
That, of course, broke my heart a thousand times over.
As we were tucking the kids in bed after the second set of calling hours, I let them know that the following morning we would be going to church for Big Papau’s funeral. At that point in time, BigBrother said, and I quote:
So, he’ll wake up there?
A thousand and ten times over.
We spent some more time explaining that while it looked like Big Papau was sleeping, he was really in Heaven with Jesus. After the funeral, we wouldn’t see him anymore. Again, he asked a few questions and decided he was satisfied and then rolled over to go to sleep.
The funeral was beautiful. The bagpiper who lead the casket out played “Amazing Grace” and I cried tears of sadness and pride. The meal downstairs in the fellowship hall was delicious and, much like had happened twenty-four years prior, BigBrother and LittleBrother ran around with their slightly older cousin, laughing the innocent laugh of hearts that have not yet been broken. They were the breath of fresh air that the rest of us needed. These children are my grandfather’s legacy; it’s a good one.
As we packed up yesterday afternoon to head back to our home, we said our goodbyes to everyone. Heading down the driveway, BigBrother asked one more question. His little mind must have been in overdrive all week.
“So, is BigPapau still with Jesus?”
Oh, my Buddy. You’re so precious.
I have hope that BigBrother will remember something of a man that is quoted in his obituary as adoring his two great-grandsons. He did. He adored them. As much as I loved my Papau, I loved that my Papau loved my children even more. I hope that if they aren’t able to remember playing trains, being pushed up/down the hill, riding on the tractor or any number of activities that they did with Big Papau, I hope that they are able to think of this great man and know, without question, that they were loved.
They were so very loved.
I hope they remember the love.
[I have a big post coming on Monday about the Internet, friends and death/tragedy. This week has taken so much out of me that I just haven’t been able to put anything I wanted to say into words. But know that I am so very thankful for the way our family has been prayed for, though of and cared for during this time. Thank you.]