“I buried Grandpa Mommy.”
Johnny came over to me wanting help with his drawing app that he likes to use and I saw that he was using a paint tool in the app to cover a photo of him with my Dad in black paint. I confess its a bit jarring to suddenly out of nowhere to have to suddenly deal with painful memories but that is how children deal with grief. They seem fine and then suddenly one day they are holding a picture of a dead relative and asking very emotional charged questions that they innocently don’t realize might be hard for the grown up to answer without some warning.
“Why are you doing that to a picture of you and Grandpa?”
“I am burying Grandpa Mommy. The black is dirt.”
Little did I know that I was about to get a peak into Johnny’s mind of what his memories were from 2 years ago when we flew back home to the city I was born and grew in with my Dad’s ashes in a box to burial him with my Mom.
Johnny was 4 and non-verbal when he started Junior Kindergarten and we found out that Grandpa was just not sick again but after a short stay in the hospital was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Three years ago Johnny saw his Grandpa who lived with us slowly lose his fight to cancer and fade from his life. My Dad’s wishes were that once Johnny’s school year was done that we take my Dad’s ashes back home and not have a big funeral but a small intimate burial with just immidate family. He knew that after what we went through with my Mom when she suddenly passed away how painful it was that he was thinking of his Grandkids. He wanted them to be able to do a quiet good bye to him without a whole bunch of well meaning adults around. We honoured his wishes. Johnny’s Daddy took pictures of the burial spot, cemetery, us placing the interment ashes box into the hole in the ground , flowers, and what the kids placed in the hole. I remember looking at the photos of that day a few months after the burial but not with the children around. That was two years ago.
Here is what I have written in the past about my Dad passing and how Johnny was dealing with the loss of his Grandpa and an important caregiver:
Here are the pages of his story called “I Buried Grandpa.”
The innocence of a child. Yes we did bury Grandpa sweetie.