February 17, 2009

Life's Nasty Turns

We hit the ground running this morning, leaving the house at 7AM and arriving home at 4:30 and then off for Bones' lacrosse practice.

Tomorrow will be uglier, leaving at 7AM and arriving home around 7PM. I strongly suspect it will be fast food for supper. I don't think I'll be able to manage much more than that.

Tonight I became an expert on past and present participles, antecedents, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, definite articles, indefinite articles, and on and on...

Are my kids the only ones who still learn this in school? We're heavy in grammar in our school... and I like it.

We had a father in our school die last week. His funeral was on Monday... and we missed it as we were away.

He was six months younger than I... leaving behind a wife and three little girls the exact same ages as my boys.

I have called them the "Anti-'insert my last name here" as they are the opposite of us... their three with ours.

He had lung cancer. He was a smoker and obviously for him, it was a genetic trigger or something to be so susceptible to lung cancer at such a young age.

Smoking kills. Period. If you smoke, you will die of heart disease or cancer.


The percentage of people who escape heart disease and cancer after being a long time habitual smoker is very small.

It is what it is.

And he'd have taken it all back if he could. Every white stick... he'd have taken it all back.

I had been bracing the boys for his death in the last few weeks. When I knew the girls knew, when the angels from Hospice had been called, I told my boys. I spent time talking to them about the funeral and how we would go as a family as it is one of the most important things to do as a human being... to honor someone's family when they die... to be supportive as they grieve.

Long conversations have been held... as I told them, that those girls would remember their being there, their presence, for the rest of their lives.

Greasing the skids I was, for the fight in not wanting to attend, on how sometimes we have to do things that really just suck, because it is the right thing to do.

I had decided against the viewing. I thought that might be too much.

At least for Bones.

And my boys are unsure now on what to do... they want to help their friends but don't know how, and they couldn't attend the funeral and know that... their presence alone would have been a huge demonstration to the girls that they cared... and they couldn't even do that.

So we are struggling as a family on what we can do to help... when in reality we know there is nothing.

Not a damn thing.

And I told them just to listen... because really that's all they can do. Be their friend if they reach out... keep an eye on them.

Bones came home today, the youngest girl had been his girlfriend in kindergarten, and said, "They were in school today. Sam seemed OK, but Frank and me, we decided she was just keeping her mind elsewhere."

That from a nine year old... two nine year olds talking about grieving, about what to do to help their nine year old friend.

We lose a parent a year at our small little school.

We have officially lost more parents in 8th grade to death, than the number of parents that are divorced, if that makes sense. More parents are widowed or widowered than are divorced.

I find it odd...

The loss of a parent is incomprehensible to to me... to lose one as a child... makes the bile rise in my throat and my eyes well with tears.

I pray for them tonight.

And suddenly my life does not seem so stressful.

Posted by Boudicca at February 17, 2009 10:33 PM | TrackBack

It really does suck, doesn't it? I went to a wake Friday night for a forty-seven year old father of four young children. He was fit and active, but died of a massive heart attack. I went to grade school and high school with his older sister, so I remember him best as the "pesky younger brother", riding his bike up and down the street, bugging us as we tried to play, etc. You know how Irish Catholic wakes are - a mix of laughter and tears and prayers, walls of photos to examine, children darting thru the lines, etc. The worst part was going thru the family line, ending up with his poor wife, who is completely lost without him, and his poor mother, who is devastated. The best part is our faith, and our strong community, who have pulled together in a fabulous way for this family.

Posted by: Mary at February 17, 2009 11:17 PM

The mom was Tater's preschool teacher. Give her my love please. I don't have a phone number or email for her. She is a wonderful woman.

Posted by: vw bug at February 18, 2009 05:31 AM

*sigh* I'm very sorry. Yes, the best thing the boys can do is to be there and not let the girls withdraw from their friends if it can be helped.

Posted by: Teresa at February 18, 2009 10:58 AM

Ugh. Sucks that your kids have to deal with the death of their peers' parents at their age. On the other hand, maybe some reality is okay at a young age so they'll know how to deal with it as they get older. And I agree, they should know that as peers, they should be taught to offer love and support by being there. And they don't really need to see a viewing of someone not related to them. I had problems at the viewing for my dad, I spent most of the time outside the room by the pictures, because I wanted my last memory of him to be as he was alive, not lying in a wooden box.

And I'm happy that I gave up smoking eleven years ago. To this day, I still have dreams where I sneak a smoke and wake up with my mouth tasting like an ashtray. Any other ex-smokers have this problem?

Posted by: diamond dave at February 18, 2009 10:58 AM

Oh that's just so sad... :(

Posted by: Richmond at February 18, 2009 12:14 PM

Those poor girls -- my heart just aches for them.

Posted by: Bob at February 18, 2009 11:11 PM