Today we went to Sean's funeral. The Captain took the day off from work to be with me and Two. We had to be at the church at 8:30 so Two could warm up with his choral group, so I was happy for the Captain's help in getting everyone else off to school. My normal day begins at six a.m., and I roll people onto buses at 6:55, 7:05, 7:35, 8:12, and 8:38. So it was tricky trying to find a time to shower and throw on appropriate clothing, without tipping off the younger people about where I was going. Yes, I had to lie about attending a funeral.
Four and Five were having a discussion Friday night about how there were only two days off before school on Monday. Five said, "Thanks a lot, Four, you just reminded me I have to go to the dentist on Monday to have my cavity filled."
"No you don't," I said. "I moved your appointment to Friday."
"Because I have to go to a funeral on Monday."
"Whose funeral?" asked Four.
"Two's friend, Sean," I replied.
"Oh," said Five, "can we go?"
I was caught completely off-guard. Normally, I am adept at handling the various flavors of crazy in our house. I am very aware of trigger words that will either encourage or deter behavior. For instance, if Four has a scheduled day off, I do not mention it, unless Five actually notices that his brother has not left for school. Then I lie, and say he has a delayed opening, or Five will pout and demand to stay home as well. I know which child needs weeks of preparation for an event, and which one is better with no extra time for fretting. Perhaps because it was a new topic, I had no stock answer to deter funeral attendance.
"No," I answered, in a firm tone designed to discourage further discussion.
"Why not?" asked Four. "I've never been to a funeral. And we want to support our brother."
He actually said that. And he meant it, because they've been very sweet to Two. So, I had to come up with a credible reason why they could not attend. I started with how it was only for adults.
"But if Two is going," said Five, "he's a teenager, so don't even tell me it's only for adults."
Damn Five and his deductive reasoning.
I finished the discussion by saying we weren't really invited by the family, and the only reason we were going was because Two had to sing. Four and Five grumbled, and then I was saved by Five's virus. Apparently, puking for two days made him forget about the funeral. Just to be safe, I made the Captain lie, and tell Five he was home this morning because I had to drive him to a meeting.
Sean's mother stood up at the Mass and read from his National Honor Society application essay. It was a poignant reminder of all that he had accomplished in his young life, and all that will be missing from the world in his absence. We all wept for her loss, and ours.
The chorale sang "On Eagle's Wings," and I could hear Two's voice in the crowd. I can always hear him, even though his is one voice among fifty. I hoped it worked that way with God, that He could hear the cries of two bereaved parents in the world, and bring them solace.
And then I asked Him to watch over my children, because I think he knows their quirks, and loves them anyway. Like I do.