It has been a pretty hard week for us as a family and for me personally. Our regular readers know that our daughter, Jade, has been fighting a virus for a few weeks now. We had gone to Urgent Care last week. We were told we were doing everything right, but to keep an eye on her ears. They feared that she may develop an ear infection.
This week we went in to see her pediatrician. She loved listening to her heartbeat with his stethoscope. We asked her what she heard and she said she heard music. He looked in her ears and sure enough there was infection. He prescribed her an antibiotic to take for the next five days.
That night we received a phone call. My grandfather had passed away. This is my Mom’s father. Ironically it had been this same time last year when we had last seen him. We had gone to visit for his birthday. There was instant regret for me for letting so much time pass in between visits. My husband took the reigns and began coordinating our trip for the funeral. I can’t tell you how thankful for him I am. While I was grieving my husband was making calls and explaining to the children in the gentlest way possible what was happening.
When I was helping our son, Gabriel, pack for our trip I was talking out loud, “We’ve got dress pants, a collar shirt, a jacket…” Gabriel yells out, “WAIT, wait…a collar shirt and a jacket? I can dress like Dr. Who! I need my bow tie! Where’s my sonic screwdriver!”
I told him later that I thought it was awesome he wanted to be Dr. Who…. Why Dr. Who exactly? He told me it was because Dr. Who can’t die. He just regenerates. I see now. This is his coping mechanism. This is how he is dealing with grandfather’s death and funeral. This makes him feel safe.
On Thursday we made the six hour drive with my Mom to our hometown. This is not the reason you want to go back….
We stayed with my grandmother and got there in enough time to shower and dress before driving another hour to my grandfathers viewing. I caught a sweet moment between siblings at the piano as I was getting dressed.
On the drive to the viewing we talked with Gabriel about what the viewing was. He has been to other funerals before but he was very small and doesn’t remember them. We told him that if at any time he was frightened, felt unsure, or had questions to come to myself or my husband (Papa). These types of things are never easy for adults or children. Gabriel’s response was that he wanted to take a selfie with me.
At the funeral my husband wore a bow tie to show solidarity with Gabriel in his Dr. Who outfit. The funeral was hard. I was so thankful to my husband. He was both supportive and loving. He took Jade out of the service when she became too rambunctious. Gabriel and I supported each other by holding hands.
After the burial, the family came together for a last meal before going separate ways. My aunt Carolette took the following pictures of us.
Jade was a spark of joy and sunshine for everyone. I can’t tell you how much pie and cake she was fed from all of my doting aunts and my grandmother.
She didn’t want to leave and even climbed into my aunts vehicle and told me bye! My grandmother tried coxing her out but to no avail. Jade was having too much fun.
Pictures were taken of everyone. It seemed strange to me to say “cheese” for a picture when there was so much sadness. But I also understand. It’s very rare for ALL of the family to be together at the same time. This is one of the rare chances to photograph all of the siblings, aunts, uncles, children, and grandchildren. Pictures that perhaps will help my Grandmother as she grieves in the coming months.
We made the six hour trip back home. The children seem fine. I feel fragile inside…like at any moment I might cry. I miss my grandfather. I told my husband that I needed a little art therapy. I wanted to paint. To paint something that I could pour my grief into but that would also remind me of my grandfather. I wanted to paint autumn colors because he passed away in the autumn. I wanted to think of him walking through a forest of trees going to his cow pasture. He loved his cows. I wanted to paint a rainbow of colors because I feel a rainbow of emotions.
It’s been a hard week.