Monday, February 2, 2009

Life Lesson

With sadness in my heart I had to teach my children one of those life lessons tonight. A lesson no parent wants to teach their children but always have too. After the dinner dishes were done and my children were watching a movie, Corey called to tell me his grandfather passed away. Corey has been in Tulsa for about 24 hours and would not be home until after they were in bed.

So with dread in my heart, I waited until I knew I could handle it.

I remember meeting this sweet, kind man when I was 16 and thinking how fun he is and what life he has in him. My heart is hurting even now and memories are popping into my head of him. I can remember driving around, with me at the wheel, Pappaw in the passenger seat and Corey in the back, at 16 years old and thinking what am I doing driving around Camden. I see him playing baseball with my boys and walking around the yard with them, he was always big on hugs and welcomes and long goodbyes. I think about Mammaw and how her life is going to change now that her husband is gone, what is she feeling and how this night will be spent. I would love to take some of that pain and burden and give her relief for awhile but our sweet Lord will do that for her.

So when I think I have my emotions under control, I turn off the Apple Dumpling Gang and explain to my children that Pappaw is now in heaven. My children are very different and react and deal with things in different ways.

John immediately starts to cry, he starts talking about playing baseball with Pappaw and how upset Mammaw is going to be. I always want John to know that crying is alright, I think there are times when boys get older that they think that letting their emotions out is a sign of weakness. So I have always encouraged him that no matter the emotion, express it. John is my toughest kid and it surprises some people that he has the softest heart.

Jacob is very different and always wants an answer. He got tears in his eyes but he wanted to know why this happened and how and what was wrong. So hard to explain a heart attack to children and that when you get older, this is what happens. I tried to explain that Pappaw has led a great life and that his dieing was very quick and he felt very little pain.

My sweet Julia didn't say much and I could see she had so much going on in her head that is hard for a 3 year old to express. She asked very simple questions of if Pappaw was hurting and was he with Jesus now.

As we get older awareness comes, Julia was sad by the fact that Pappaw was gone but it is so easy for her to except that he is now with Jesus. If he is no longer in pain, happy and seeing our wonderful Lord then shouldn't we be rejoicing. I wish I could think like she does, Momma we are happy that he is with Jesus.

Both of my boys have Jesus in their heart but still the questions are asked of what is going on with Pappaws body. These are the questions that I pray I answer correctly but the ones where I doubt myself. I explained that Pappaw has left his body and is right now in heaven with our Lord Jesus, feeling young and pain-free. I reminded them of how old Pappaw looked the last time we saw him and explained that he is no longer old and that he has a new body. Jacob my inquisitive minded child asked if Pappaw has to be a baby again and how old is he now in heaven. The questions children will throw at you. I explained that I had never been to heaven and not sure what our new bodies were going to look like, Jacob kept asking how old is he now. My reply was that in heaven years Pappaw wasn't even a day old, just a few hours. That seemed to satisfy him. We ended with praying for Mammaw and Daddy.
Hearts are sad in our house tonight.


Amy said...

Oh Anne Marie! We are praying for you, your kids, Corey and his grandmother...

emily said...

I'm sorry that your family is going through pain.

Your post made me cry. It reminded me of when my Granni died and we drove up to her house to visit my gramdfather who was hurting so, and Ethan at not even three years old jumped up and down in his car seat when we pulled into her driveway saying, "Yippee! We get to see GG!" When I explained, through tears, that she was in heaven with Jesus he began to cry and said, "I don't want GG to be with Jesus, I want to see her in her house." I know that's probably how your kids are feeling.

Let me know if you need anything.

Olivers said...

Thank you both. So many feeling are going on at our house. Corey and I wishing we would have made more time to see him, our children and thier happy memories of him which make them sad when they start thinking he is no longer here.
Planning a trip like this is hard and getting our children prepared for what they will see and here even harder. My mother has said this is a part of life and to raise healthy balanced children they have to experience all parts of life. I want to shield them so much from this but I know that if you don't experience true sadness, you may never know what true happiness feels like.
I have come to think of Mammaw and Pappaw Beard as my own grandparents. I lost my grandfather 8 years ago, 2 months before John was born and then my grandmother 3 years ago, 2 months after Julia was born. Losing them has taught me to celebrate grandparents and even after 3 years of not having my Memaw around, the boys still ask about her. I will have to write about them sometime so my children can come read this someday.
Today has made me realize that we are going to have a special day for grandparents in our house, they will not be forgotten.