Kay -N- Kay

White Noise

You Will Allways Be In My Heart

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My Grandfather passed away recently and we went to the funeral last week.  He lived to be 101 years old!

Most anyone who knows me knows I’m not a religious person, but my grandparents (maternal) were.  They were those rare sorts of people who despite being deeply devout in their beliefs, would not wear their religion on their sleeves.  They were never the sort to look on you with that vaguely disappointed expression, as if already imagining your soul burning for all eternity and wondering how they could possibly “help” you to see the light. (My friend Molly is very similar)  If my grandparents ever said a prayer for their heathen grandson, I never knew it… and I love them all the more for that.  They were genuinely good people who lived their lives, strong, yet quiet, in their faith.

Bran was very curious about the whole affair.  We’d taken him with us a couple of months back on what would be the last time I’d see my Grandfather alive, so he actually knew and remembered who it was who had died.  It was recent enough to still be clear in his 7 year old mind, probably even complete with memories of words spoken.  At that time, Grandpa was having more “bad” days than “good”, but we’d lucked out for our visit.  We talked about him playing trombone in the Ohio State Marching band and his time as a missionary for three weeks in Honduras.  I won’t go so far as to say that the conversation was easy, heh… he was 101 and if he rambled a bit or couldn’t quite recall enough details, well that was just fine.  Bran was naturally shy about this scary old man in his hospice bed and oxygen tank, and initially refused to come in.  But as the minutes passed I looked over to find he’d scooted closer and closer until he finally joined our circle.  It wasn’t long until he was asking questions and telling his own stories to his “Great-grandpa.”

That was a good day and I guess everyone felt better for it.

At the funeral last week, I explained to Bran that Great-grandpa had died and that his body was up in the casket at the front of the room.  We’d already gone over a lot of questions such as “Why is he dead?” and “How did he die?”  We explained that Great-grandpa was very old and it gets harder for your heart to keep beating and pumping your blood when you get that old.  He’s read a few books with us about the human body and has long been fascinated with the concept of lungs, hearts, and other organs.  He accepted our explanations with an unaccustomed  solemnity.

The casket was open and Bran could see Great-grandpa sort of propped up and highly visible.  He definitely wanted to go up for a closer look, so Kristin and I took him closer.  He was very quiet and respectful.  He paid some face time with looking at the various pictures around the casket, but his attention clearly kept wandering back over to the casket.  Later on, after he’d had some time to think on it all, he said that he wanted to go back up.  At first he said he just wanted to go “touch” Great-grandpa, but he further clarified by saying he wanted to “touch his heart.”

Now I wasn’t at all sure about this, but evidently Bran was.  I’m not sure if he wanted to just verify that his heart was no longer beating… or a fascination with seeing a dead person and what that really meant?  But I think it was his 7 year old way of coming to grips with the concept of mortality.

We’ve already had a couple of those moments during an otherwise normal bed time story or good night kiss, when he seemingly out of no where busts out with that parental nuclear warhead, “I don’t want you to die, Daddy.”  What can you say to that, really?  I still remember my own long nights of sleeplessness as a child, realizing that people really do die and then connecting the proverbial dots that meant that “people” includes “Mommy”.  As a child you try to find some sort of loophole in that logic, anything that can offer some sort of hope that the most important thing in your life… really the ONLY thing in your life, isn’t actually mortal.  Fortunately, when your young, magic isn’t something that can yet entirely be ruled out, so eventually sleep does come.  But deep down, when everyone else is asleep and the nightlight doesn’t seem so bright, you still know…

Bran eventually did touch Great-grandpa’s heart.  I think he’s connecting his own dots.

At the end of the service, he liked the idea of writing a note to put in the casket, to be buried with him.  He asked me for a couple of spelling confirmations, but the words were all his own:

Great-grandpa's Note

William “Doc” Myers, 6/27/1908 – 10/25/2009

You will always be loved.

Written by Kyle

November 6th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Brilliant!

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