As you know, we haven’t had the easiest of weeks. Mike’s grandmother (his father’s mother) passed away on Easter Saturday and even though their relationship was pretty much non-existent for many years, we have all reconnected recently. Everything finished up today with the funeral and it was absolutely beautiful.
Last night we asked Mathew if he would like to come to the wake with us and his response was “Thank you, but I think I will have to decline.” He thought it would be scary and spooky. Ok then, no pressure! We decided to leave it up to him as he has never been to a wake or a funeral before.
This morning he was 5 minutes away from going out the door and Mike again asked him if he wanted to go to the funeral. I near fell over when he said “Sure”, right away. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was daytime and nice and sunny out or what, but he wanted to go. I told him we’d be going to the funeral home first for prayers, then to the church, the grave yard and then for a reception. he was good to go. He asked a TON of questions on the way over which we tried as best we could to answer.
We purposefully left early so we could get to the funeral home before anyone else, that way Matthew could have his time. We walked in and he was amazed at how beautiful it was (just like I told him…a hotel lobby…lol) We looked at the collages of pictures and he was as pleased as punch that there were pictures of all 4 of us included! After looking at them for a bit he turned and peaked inside the room where Nanny was. I asked him if he was ready and off we went. I’m glad we were the only ones there because he asked umpteen questions while standing at the casket. “Does she have socks on?”, “Why are her glasses on her if she’s…you know…dead?”, “Why is she holding prayer beads?”, “Why are there candles?”, “I think she’s breathing.”, “Are you sure she’s not breathing?”, “When do they close the top?”, “What if there’s water in the hole in the ground?”, “I still think she’s breathing.”, “Why is there makeup on her?”, “Who picked out her clothes?”, “How do they get her in the church?” and on…and on…and on….. Then he said he loved her as a single tear came down his cheek.
The family started coming in and he opted to sit in a chair at the back of the room. He was a little iffy when Nanny’s daughter’s were openly crying but he held up very well. He spoke to a lot of people whom he didn’t know and seemed ok when I made as many connections for him as to who the people were. About 10 minutes before they lowered the casket, him and I headed out to the church.
Once inside the church he kept saying about how bright it was getting in there. (It wasn’t, really) But he said Nanny was shining down her love on everyone from heaven so they wouldn’t be sad. Every time the choir started to sing, whether it was a hymn or the response to a prayer, he cried. (Music at funerals does that to me, too) He was really intrigued at the end of the mass when the priest blessed the casket with the incense. (I had forgotten about that part and hoped he wouldn’t get sick because of his intense sense of smell, but he did ok) He hoped there were no smoke detectors that would go off though.
Once we got to the grave yard things went pretty quick. It was COLD!! A strong northwest wind on top of a high hill right off the Bras d’Or Lakes = a quick committal service! All nanny’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren laid roses on her casket before we left. It was beautiful.
Once we got to the reception things were much more relaxed. Matthew was starved and he snuck up to the end of the sweets table and got a brownie to hold him over until we got to the front of the line. After we ate we mingled and he had more people come up and hug him and shake his hand and kiss his head than he cares to remember! About an hour later, everyone was starting to disperse so I took the cues and we said our good-byes.
In the van on the way home he said that he was proud of himself. He asked if we noticed that he didn’t pull away from people who were hugging him. (This has always been an issue for him). He asked if we noticed how calm he was. We sure did. He told us that he didn’t feel as stressed out around so many people as he usually does and he wondered if it was because he was growing up. We told him it very well could be that, for sure.
Now that he is in bed and I am sitting here replaying the day, what must go through his head? How must he really feel at times to notice such a difference in himself that he can verbalize it after something like that?
I’m very glad he decided to join us today and I couldn’t have been more proud of him. To hear the wonderful words spoken about him today by friends and family did my heart a world of good.
He’s a special boy and so may people are touched by him. Even though he may not have had the relationship with his great grandmother that we would have liked for him to have he certainly touched a lot of lives today. And like the priest said during his homily, it’s not the amount of time that you spend with a family that counts, it’s what you make of the time that you spend. That’s the important issue.