Surviving in a Male Dominated Household

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Discussing Death with the Kids - The Soul Within

We've been blessed. My son knows ALL of his Grandparents and even got to know and love his Great Grandpa Bob. But on Thursday morning, Great Grandpa Bob gave in to his body and gave his spirit up to God.

That's not to say he didn't fight it. We've known for weeks it could be "any time". It was an emotional roller coaster for everyone. I don't even want to know how many miles my mother in law put on her car driving back and forth to Ottumwa. But I'm sure she'd say it was worth it.  

She was the most self-less woman through all of this, always putting her father's needs before her own wants.

I hope my boys care half as much for me as she does for her dad when it is my time. While she faced some hard decisions, she did it with grace. Even though she got more than any one's share of grief for the hard decisions she made, she knew she was doing the right thing.

I know my mother in law and I haven't always gotten along the best. But I know that through it all, she cares for me and I for her. After seeing what she's gone through with her father and her family, I have a new found respect for her. It's almost like a sibling relationship. We pick on each other, but if anyone else says anything about her, I will always be there to defend her.

That being said, on Thursday morning when I got the call, I was at home with the boys. David had already gone to work. Sean and Brendan were napping and I was working on a political article. After hearing the news, I took a deep breath and walked into Liam's room where he was playing with his cars.

I sat down next to him on the floor, took a deep breath and said, "Liam, I need to talk to you."
He looked up at me and said, "Okay, Mommy."
Another deep breath. "Great Grandpa Bob died this morning." Pause. Liam nodded his head. "Do you know what that means?"
"Yeah. I miss him," Liam said with a lip quiver.
"Do you have any questions," I asked.
Liam thought for a moment. "But why did he die?"
I responded, "Because we all die. Do you know what that means?" Long pause between both of us. I continued, "That means you won't be able to talk to him again. You will see him at the funeral, but it is just his body."

Liam responded with the always more mature than his age intelligence, "I know that, mommy. His soul is in heaven with Great Grandma Margie. His body is just a shell. He's not really in there."

Wow. Color me shocked. He's 5 (and a half) and he gets it. He's always been that way. An old soul, if you will. He seems to know more than he should at his age. But maybe that was my doing. He was the one I leaned on while Dave was deployed. I shouldn't call him my "rock" because he was so little...more like "Mommy's Pebble". Maybe he knew more than what I gave him credit for at his toddler age. I mean, he did hear about mortar attacks and his daddy being over there. Maybe it was being faced with his own father's mortality at such a young age that caused him to grow up so fast...and maybe I'm thinking too much.

At any rate, he seemed to understand what was going on. I'm not sure how he'll handle it at the funeral on Monday, but he'll be surrounded by family that loves him, including my father who has volunteered to drive across the entire state of Iowa to sing at the funeral. Dad said, "It's my son-in-law's grandfather. It's family. Singing at funerals is what I do."

And that's what is important at this time. During a family crisis, family needs to come together. My dad only met Grandpa Bob at our wedding, and yet, he's family. Family members care and love each other. They help each other through tough times.

As Liam said, our bodies are "just a shell". 

We need to remember to be nice to each others soul that lies within.

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