Grandpa Bob has passed away. His broken body can now rest and he is free. I know I will never forget my last handshake from him for the stroke had not yet robbed him of all his strength.
My son has now attended his Seventh funeral. G Man has been to the funerals of two of his fathers friends, two grand fathers, one great grandmother, one great uncle and one second (or greater) cousin. He was present at the passing of both our dogs. For my Daughter this was her second funeral. We went to Grandma Judy's funeral when she was a baby.
When someone asks me if a young child can attend a funeral I sometimes have a hard time responding. I suppose I want to answer, 'Why shouldn't they?'. We talk about death in a very honest way. We are very Buddhist in our explanations of death and in our tone of voice we convey our sadness, but never fear. We trust our children with the truth, the whole truth of life and death.
When we have been at an open casket funeral we have been able to explain that someone is gone. It is very observable that our loved one is not really there. When we attend an internment we talk of returning someone to where they came from, as all of us have come from the earth. When we cry, we can say we are sad and if is OK to be sad.
My son held his Grandpa's hand at the viewing and patted his chest. He express his sadness and his love. He and his sister sleep soundly each night. At the memorial he stood up at the microphone and told everyone he cared about Grandpa Bob and he would miss him. He sat close to his father at the interment and shook the ministers hand.
With our children there can be only truth. For me, for their father, there is no other choice.