Posted by: sara | February 2nd, 2018
This past July, when my father shuffled off this mortal coil, my daughter was conflicted about whether she should bring her very young daughter and my only granddaughter (not quite 4 years old) to his funeral. I never hesitated in encouraging her to bring Blum along. It's my firm conviction that children understand life and death from very early on, especially after having seen a dead bug!? And the way this society tries to cover up death, pushing children away from the very natural and beautiful circle of life, just irks me to no end. Trying to protect children from death is a mistake. Each of us should be trying to remove the dark shroud of fear from death and help our children see it as a sad, but natural, part of life.
Blum knew "Pee-Paw" was very old and very sick. She had been to visit him over the past few months and had witnessed his decline. Still, he always smiled when she was in his apartment and she loved sharing her cookies with him.
It was only natural that Heba would explain his death, and what would happen at his funeral. There was the visitation at the funeral home, then the drive to the cemetery, the full military honors with a 21-gun salute, and finally the burial in the family plot. A couple of nights before the funeral, when I was talking to Blum on the telephone, she volunteered this information: "Pee-Paw died. And we're going to his funeral. And then we're going to bury him up!!"
Out of the mouths of babes....
Later that month, I caught her having a conversation amidst the Play-Doh and little plastic dolls. Oh, the sheer innocence and honesty of this moment! She knows Pee-Paw is gone, but he lives on in her heart!