Telling the Truth

on 05 November 2012

Chris' Grandma died last Wednesday. 

We spent the weekend down in Savannah for her funeral and burial services.  It was a long, exhausting and sad weekend.  This was the first trip in 10 years that we didn't go and have a chat with Grandmama.  She was just an integral part of our time in Savannah and I found myself feeling quite melancholic and silent about the change.

I also discovered a new challenge to motherhood.  As if there weren't enough already.  The Boy was full of questions during the funerary services and I found myself struggling to tell him the truth.  I have a strict policy of truth with my babies, I want them to feel confident in telling me the truth, so I try to do the same with them.  But I found it hard, this time around, not to dress this sad ritual up in fanciful clothes.

If only he weren't so perceptive.  He kept asking me why Grandmama was in the box.  And why are we burying her in the ground?  And why isn't she here if we're talking about her?  And where did she go? 

I would have loved to tell him that she went to live up in the stars and that she would shine out every night as he was sleeping.  I would have loved to tell him that we put her in the ground so that she could grow up into a beautiful tree in the Wood between Worlds.  I would have loved to tell him that she couldn't be at the funeral because she was off doing something amazing and adventurous.

But the truth is harder.  And harder still to explain to someone with a relatively rudimentary vocabulary and a pliable relationship with Time.  But I tried.  I explained to him the same things my parents explained to me when I was 5 years old and my Grandmama died.  I tried to explain the things we Believe and why we Believe them.


And as we made the long drive from the middle of Georgia back to Savannah, Chris and I talked.  We talked about the memories that we'll put into our pockets and carry with us.  The stories that we'll tell the Boy and the Girl and any babies we're lucky enough to have later on.  We'll tell them about Grandma's obsession with socks, and how we went to breakfast every time we visited.  How she would buy KFC to take to her family reunion and put it into her own serving dish so no one would know she didn't make it herself (everyone knew, of course, just no one said anything).  We'll tell them how she praised Dad to the skies and how much she loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We'll tell them how hard she worked, and how when girls on college campuses were shouting obscenities and burning their bras, she and her sister (in Savannah, GA) went out and opened up their own Sporting Goods store.  Not two ex-football players, but two Southern Ladies!  How she worked until she was 90+ and would have worked to the day she died, if she could have.  Because those things are the Truth too.

3 comments:

Cel and JP said...

Sending you big hugs and kisses. Even with all we know, I know how hard it is to miss someone you love so very dearly. Call if you need to talk :)

Brett said...

Sorry this was so hard for all of you, but of course it's great that you're being honest with him. He'll understand eventually.

Miss Sarah in Georgia said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Love to Chris, you, and your family.