I walked into the end of the week thinking it would be rough, and while I wasn’t wrong, I was surprised.
Surprised by how everyone handled things in my family. Surprised by the fact that our lives could have been quite sorrowful and down the whole weekend with the kids having their grandmother be the next in a long line of people who passed away. Surprised by the fact that after all this, after the funeral, after the reception and all that . . . they responded with laughter.
Sure, we had a lot of discussions about who we lost. Hannah, my middle, made an attempt at a philosophical discussion when she said “have you ever noticed when someone dies it’s like an entire world just goes with them?” That’s an easy statement to make, feeling loss, but I looked at her and stated, with authority – “but you remember them right?”
“Then they’re not totally gone, the whole world they created isn’t gone with them, right?”
“Well…I suppose so…”
I looked at Hannah and the boys. “If your mother left and took her whole world with her what would I have . . . would you be here?”
“If your grandma left and her whole world went with her . . . then your mother’s memory would go with her, too. That takes you away. That takes your aunt, your cousins . . . all of it is gone. Right?”
“Not that way, Dad!” my daughter said emphatically.
“But it’s not all one way or another,” I informed them. “I hate we’ve lost your Mom and your grandma and all that . . . but I wanted you to know. . . that they’re not totally gone. I see them, in you, in what they did for us, in the way they decorated things or the memories we have or even just the tidbits that they gave us that helped us grow into who we are.”
The kids looked at me skeptically.
“I grew up with your Mom, more or less. I didn’t grow up like a little kid, but I wasn’t mature enough or confident enough when I got out on my own to be truly who I was. That person was in there but I was too scared to let him out. Now . . . it’s different. Same thing for her. Unfortunately she’s gone, but I can take care of all of you and do the best I can and have the confidence that we’re doing things right because she helped me to grow. That’s reality.”
They all seemed to agree that made some sort of sense.
“It’s a cliche, sure, that they stay with you, your Mom, your Grandpa and Grandma. But they do, right? What have we done the last week but think about them over and over again?”
My kids were all the right balance of melancholy and calm which for this weekend was a good thing. They laughed a ton.
So as a way to give them some normalcy we went to the movies . . . a sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs . . . and we laughed at every food pun. No, they weren’t brilliant, and no, it wasn’t Ben Hur . . . but you know what? For this weekend, it’s what we needed. So what if “there’s a leek in the boat!” showed up 4 times in the movie? You know what? We laughed every single time.
And in the end, laughter, food puns, and remembering the people who shaped our world . . . that’s worth the price of admission.