Pete Gilbert">

The Funeral

Earlier this month, we laid my grandpa to rest. He lived a long and wonderful life. He was married to my grandma for over 60 years, Three weeks and three days after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer he passed away.

The morning of the funeral the five of us loaded up in our van and made the two and a half hour drive to the funeral home. With the help of watching the DVD Planes, on repeat, the kids did really well on the drive over. I wasn’t worried about their behavior in the car, but I was concerned how they would do in the funeral home. We were going to be there during the family-only portion of the visitation, then there would be an hour of public visitation, and finally the funeral itself, so my kids would be there for at least two and a half hours. Let’s face it, funeral homes aren’t the easiest places for kids to hangout. In fact, there not really the type of place anyone really wants to hang out.

Once we arrived, all my concerns were gone. The kids were able to spend time with their second cousins (that they’d never met, but you wouldn’t have known that from the way they interacted). They were also very free with their hugs to anyone they noticed grieving. It was great to see them go up and hug someone and watch that person’s sadness become a little bit happier because of the love they were getting from a child.

With help from friends and family they managed to stay occupied during the visitation, and with an emergency shopping trip to Walgreen’s by my wife, they were quiet and focused during the funeral. We did learn one really important thing during the funeral though, markers are a lot louder in a completely quiet room than one might think.

Finally, they were troopers as we made our way in the funeral procession to the cemetery, even though they had skipped lunch and naps. The only real awkward moment came during the burial when I was holding my two-year-old and she asked me where grandma was. I told her she was saying goodbye to grandpa. She misunderstood, thinking I said, “Say goodbye grandpa.” So, just a few feet from the casket as were were walking away she’s shouting, “Goodbye grandpa! Goodbye grandpa!” I was a little embarrassed, but I think grandpa would have thought it was pretty damn funny.

All in all, the kids kept it together the entire day, their mom and I were so proud of them. It was not an easy day for any of us, but a day made much easier with the help of my kids.

-Pete

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