Thursday, July 27, 2006

Remembering the hard times....

I am a frequent lurker on a message board called "Scrapbook Addict". I was just reading a post about how one member was getting ready to start scrapping about her father's death, and how difficult it has been for her. As I was responding to her post, this story popped into my head, and I just had to share....

Grandma T was my husband's paternal grandmother. She was awesome! She passed away a few years ago, when the boys were 3 and 4 years old. She had recently had part of her leg amputated due to circulatory problems, and never made it out of the hospital. She was 90. She spent several days in ICU, then was transferred to "Comfort Care", a hospice-like environment at the hospital where she was made comfortable till the end. DH (darling husband), the boys, and I did make it up to see her before she passed. When it was just the adults in the room, she would moan for the Lord to take her home. When my little boys entered the room, however, she was calm, quiet, and had little conversations with them. Son #1, who was 4, stood by her bedside and stroked her hand. He arranged a little beanie dog from her bedside table on her chest, to keep her company. Grandma told him he should take that dog home since she wouldn't be needing it much longer. He's nine years old now, and still has that dog.

When it came time for Grandma T's visitation and funeral, the whole family was there, except for DH's father, who was still in the hospital (another long story for another day). That made it harder on our end, just knowing he wasn't there for his own mother's funeral. No matter how sad these situations can be, you can always count on little kids to lighten the mood a little, and usually do or say something completely inappropriate. Many are the mothers who cringe at taking their little ones to the funeral home for fear of what they will do or say. My boys were in for a long night at the visitation, since we had to be there the entire time. We wre prepared with toys, juice, food, etc. We took each boy to the casket to see Grandma before the visitation began. Son #2, the three year old, was pretty unaffected. Son #1, however, was sobbing. Took him a long time to get ahold of himself. Since I had not dealt with kids this age and the topic of death before, I just hoped that the differences between my boys was age-appropriate and normal.

I was soon reassured that my 3 year old was pretty typical after watching DH's cousin's little girl. She is exactly one week older than son #2. She walked up and loudly announced, "Grandma is in a box!" She seemed very proud of her statement. Seems that her mother wanted to help her understand the things she would see at the funeral home. When she told her that Grandma would be in a casket, she naturally asked, "What's a casket?" Her mother responed, "Well, it's kind of like a box made out of wood." Thus, Grandma was in a box.

The kids managed to help lighten the mood a bit. As the night wore on, I don't know who was more exhausted, the kids or the grown-ups. Since no one had eaten dinner, we foolishly decided to head to a little restaurant in Grandma's small hometown. It was about 10:30 at night. DH's cousin had wisely decided to forgo the gathering and take their little one home to bed. We, however, were not so smart. The boys were almost slap-happy. They were wound-up, over tired, and up way past their bed time. Son #1 was seated at one end of the long, banquet style table, away from me. Son #2 was across from me. Son #1 happily scarfed down a huge order of pancakes....maple syrup and all. Son #2 was munching on crackers, not happy with his meal. I rested my head against the back of my chair and closed my eyes. It had been such a long, exhausting day, and I was dreading what would happen tomorrow at the funeral. My kids would be cranky, DH was a pall bearer, so he'd be no help. Just as I thought I might actually fall asleep right there in the restaurant, I heard a strange wheezing sound. I opened my eyes and tried to re-focus. When my vision cleared, all I saw was son #2 clawing at his mouth, face turning red. Everyone else at the table was deep in conversation, oblivious to the fact that my son was CHOKING! I flew from my chair, ran around the table and grabbed up my little one. I put one foot on the chair and dropped him across my knee, allowing my thigh to hit his tummy. The piece of cracker flew from his mouth, and he drew in a huge breath. I hugged him, kissed him, then pulled him back to I could see how he was handling the situation. Big smile, asking for more milk. No harm, no foul. And no one else even looked up from their conversation--they were completely unaware of what had just happened.

More on this story later....son #2 and the pancakes......

1 comment:

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