01 March 2011

There, But For The Grace of God, Go I

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."
"Really? Why?"
"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.


  1. My amazing daughter, you are an incredible human being. This had to have been so difficult for all of you. I've carried you all in my heart and prayers for days, Sean's family as well. Our children are not supposed to pre-decease us. My heart (that of the universal mother) prays for all families every day that lose a son or daughter and I always ask God to keep my family safe. That's all we can do. I knew that the Captain would be there for you and Two because you have created a very loving, supportive family, ie. Four's comment. You're doing it right, both of you. I love you.

  2. Anonymous1.3.11

    I can only echo the wise and loving voice of The Universal Mother who commented before me.
    Hug those kids, even when they squirm, I do.

  3. Oh that gave me chills!

    You poor darling...I am so glad you had your husband by your side while your son sang at his friend's funeral. How truly dreadful the situation is, but how remarkably strong you are!

  4. I am very proud of Two. He is a very remarkable young man and give him a hug from me. I am sorry he is hurting so much.

    It is also not a bad thing at his age to be reminded of how precious life is, not that I would ever wish something like this on anyone. But kids his age start making bold decisions with potentially huge consequences. I worry about this with mine as I let go a little more each day. He'll be 18 in a few short months, and I've been fortunate that he's such a homebody. But that will change soon.

    Sorry you all have had to experience this, and most of all, Sean's parents. Love you, and thanks for sharing xoxo

  5. I was 20 when I first lost someone "my" age. A friend called at oh-dark-thirty to tell me of our mutual friend's accident and passing. As the call ended, he said "I know you're going to go back to sleep, but this wasn't a dream."

    Oh, how I wished it were. And how I wish, for your sake and Two's and Sean's and Sean's family's, that this, too, was a dream.

    I suspect that a lot of Sean's friends will feel like they're sleep-walking for the next few weeks. Two is lucky to have such a strong family while he's in that vulnerable, sleep-walk state.

    Wishing strength of spirit to you and yours.

  6. I'm a big believer of God as All-Parent. I think He hurts for us even more than we hurt for ourselves. And I am confident that He manages to hear our individual voices despite the cacophony. This is the beauty of faith. It allows you believe in the impossible without having to examine it to closely. I guess I am the product of my early Sunday school education.

  7. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support. I'm going to continue to check in with Two, because it's been my experience thus far that boys do not open up and let their feelings fly. Their brains aren't wired the same as girls in that regard (honest; it's a scientific fact). I appreciate you letting me share my feelings with all of you.

    As a side note, I want to give a shout out to Julie, who, along with Janet, are always the first readers of my posts. (Except for last night, when Mom was up way too late. Get some sleep, Norma!) As a result, Julie always points out when I type my children's actual names instead of their numbers. When I proof-read, I am often distracted or tired, and my brain doesn't recognize their printed names as typos. So, thank you Julie, for living on the west coast, and staying up way late, so I can protect the anonymity of the pack!

  8. I feel so unsupportive. I've been avoiding your blog of late just because of this topic. It makes my heart hurt even to think about it. But I am thinking of all of you, and those poor parents as well. You're all in my prayers.

  9. Delia: it's totally understandable. I've hated the blog lately too! But life moves forward, and we are, too. I know you're out there, so no worries.


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