“I want to buy flowers for Grandpa”
Two years ago we were hoping and praying along with my Father who lived with us that Johnny would be able to say some words. We could only live in hope that one day we would hear his voice letting us know what was on his mind. On this day we heard his words as he took charge over his Grandfather’s burial and used his words to direct us with what he wanted done for “Grandpa” and the closure that we all needed.
I had explained to Johnny in the days leading up to trip back home we were going to be saying a final goodbye to Grandpa and even though he was heaven now, we were burying what was left of him in the ground. As I knelt down by the gravesite and felt the tears start to come I felt two arms go around me from behind and Johnny’s head nuzzle my head and then plant a kiss on it. He then found my face and held me for a few minutes longer.
I want to thank a friend of the family who provided us recently with some information to give us some insight on how children approach death and grief. Its important to do some rituals to reforce that Grandpa is gone forever, allow the children to take part, explain it to them at a level they can understand, and let them know that its okay to cry if we are sad even when we think of happy memories.
We explained everything again and then he was insistent that the urn be placed into the vault in the hole. We were not sure that was what we wanted the children to see. The cemetery worker had said we could have our moments and then we could walk away and he would finish once we left. Johnny was here to see the burial from start to finish. Johnny needed his ending. So his Daddy and I pulled ourselves together and signalled to the worker to come over. Johnny watched over every step and tried to use his words to point out what was happening if he thought something wasn’t right. “Daddy…fix..move it Daddy. ”
We were in a rush to get to the cemetery early in the morning that we forgot to bring flowers. Johnny started joining his sister picking dandelions and butter cups but instead of keeping them he was laying them on the plaque for “Grandpa.” He looked around and said “I want to buy flowers for Grandpa”. We made sure that is what he wanted to do and we took him to a store. Both Johnny and Little Princess both picked out flowers and we helped them place in vases on the grave.
It might have been one of the hardest days in my life but watching my children deal with a burial in their own way and process it helped heal a part of me and I know my Mom and Dad would be have been smiling.