Today was my grandmothers funeral and my children's first experience. I have to say everything went so much better than I imagined.
A few years ago I lost a grandfather while out of state for residency, and just getting to the funeral proved dramatic. In fact, it is the first and only argument of significance I remember having with my husband. It was ugly. But I traveled alone and the children were none the wiser.
This time, I traveled only a few hours and did so with just my children. I suppose that is just another one of the sacrifices we make when your husband takes 5 days off at Christmas time, you must return to work. And when you partner is on vacation, it is what it is, no arguments. So me, four kids, road trip and funeral.
I think the worst part might have been getting the kids up and dressed before daylight by myself. I am not a morning person and typically do not sleep with an alarm. If I know I have to be up early I do not sleep well. I value my sleep and therefore refuse to wake before my body says I must. While that makes me happy and proves successful 99.9% of the time, those rare occasions that require early rising are anxiety inducing. But we got up, were dressed, and even arrived on time. It was miraculous. And my kids though the funeral was "awesome", and that is a direct quote.
Kids aren't scared of death. They don't mind talking about it. They don't treat the words "dead" or "death" as a bad thing, they are just words. Maybe they know something more about the process of living and dying than we give them credit for. To them it made perfect sense that Grandma was born, lived, died and we will see her again.
On our ride we talked about what would happen at the service, and what they might see, where we would go for the burial and lowering of the casket, and what that means. They were great with all of it, but what they will probably remember is getting to see all of their cousins and meeting cousins they never knew existed.
Funerals for our family seem to be one big reunion and during the eulogy I thought to myself that we were involved in a very special reunion. One her on earth with her living friends and relatives and another reunion was happening with my grandmother, her husband, her daughter, her parents, and all of her friends and family who have gone on before. It was a beautiful image and one that I believe with all of my heart. Pure joy.
What a life she had, and I wish I would have known her better. Because she was ill for most of my life the context in which I know her is one of pain and suffering. Today I learned so much more about her and hope to continue to learn more about her life. What a source of strength our families can be if we really know them, even if it comes after their passing or generations after they have lived.
Life is amazing. The whole process from beginning to end. Even the ordinary and uneventful life holds truth, treasures, and miracles. In reality there is no ordinary life - every life is amazing.