I know I took a long (unscheduled) break. I hope that all seven of you who read this will be patient with me. It has been a long weekend, and the week really hasn’t started off much better.

The funeral for the Webmaster’s grandmother was Saturday. We drove down that morning in plenty of time, got ourselves and the kids ready, and the Webmaster went to the family viewing. We had discussed taking the kids, but ultimately decided not to. Tad would have no memory of it, but Ane would remember it forever. Here’s how I know that:

My great-grandfather died when I was about two and a half (maybe closer to three – my mother will have to remind me). My parents took me to the funeral, and my earliest vivid memory is of the body in the casket. Apparently, my grandmother even had me touch his hand, though I don’t remember that. I wasn’t traumatized by the event, but I do remember being very curious as to why he was just lying there.

In trying to decide whether or not to take Ane to the viewing, I examined that memory from every angle, and then tried to apply Ane’s personality to it. Thinking it over as an adult, the only sad part about that memory is that it is my only memory of my great-grandfather. I don’t remember him being alive – I only remember him dead. I decided that I didn’t want to risk that happening to Ane, and I really didn’t want it to be her last memory of her great-grandmother, either. When I talked it over with my mother, she commented that my dad (who often doesn’t have a firm opinion on such things) was against our taking her to the viewing. He was of the opinion that if Ane saw the body, she would be telling all of her friends at school and church, “I saw a dead body!” and freaking them out.

He knows his granddaughter well, I think.

The kids behaved as well as humanely possible for an almost-four-year-old and a two-year-old. I eventually had to take Tad out, because he was simply getting too antsy. Ane wasn’t much better, but we were off to the side with the rest of the family, so the rest of the audience wasn’t watching her constant up-and-down-from-her-chair antics.

The service was only about a half hour; the graveside service was only about 10 minutes. By that time, I had popped Tad in his stroller, given Ane her umbrella, and had them pretty much under control. The Webmaster (along with his two male first cousins, his cousin’s husband, and two family friends) was a pallbearer, so I was managing the kids on my own for part of the time. Ane was very curious about the casket. “What’s that box, Mommy? Are we going to open that box?” she asked.

Uh-oh. “No, we’re not going to open the box,” I quickly replied. “It was open earlier, but they closed it up.”

“Oh.” I could see her wheels turning. “Why did they close it?” she asked.

“They closed it so they could put those flowers on top,” I told her, pointing to the bouquets.

She accepted that answer, then asked what we were doing out there. The Webmaster’s cousin overheard her, and told her that we were going to say good-bye to Great-Grandma one last time.

Ane looked her dead in the eye. “My great-grandma died and went to heaven to be with Jesus,” she said firmly. (She had said this earlier, unprovoked, to another family member, and it had absolutely floored me then, so I wasn’t surprised that she was saying it again.)

The cousin, who has teenagers of her own, smiled at Ane. “You are absolutely right,” she told her.

(Yes, the question of “what was in the box” came up, but I think I’ll save that for another time.)

There was a lunch reception afterwards, which finally allowed the kids to eat, run around, and generally be the loving little pests that they usually are, much to the delight of most of the attendees and their grandparents, who loved showing off their only grandchildren. By the time it was over, Tad was fast asleep in his car seat (we had driven back to the Webmaster’s parents’ house to change out of our dress clothes, but we didn’t bother changing Tad). When we left their house, Ane looked at us from the middle seat of the minivan, took her pillow and said, “Mommy, I think I’m just going to take a nap now.” And she did.

Sunday was kind of a restful day – the kids and I napped all afternoon while the Webmaster went out with friends (this had been pre-planned as a belated birthday celebration for a friend), but Monday I was thrown a nasty loop.

I arrived at speech therapy with both kids in tow (the therapists have been meeting Ane to deepen their understanding of Tad), when the bookkeeper informed me that, um, you’re now over your insurance limit and are now paying out of pocket. They were supposed to tell us this BEFORE it happened, and they claimed they left messages for us (at which number? They sure can find us to confirm appointments), but the end result is that we are left holding the bag.

I am going to give the head bookkeeper a call tomorrow – I have been too busy today – and have a little chat with her. There are a couple of issues about the billing that I need to raise. That aside, we will be ending speech therapy, at least at this clinic, next week. Even they are admitting that they have hit a ceiling with Tad and want to refer him elsewhere.

As far as speech therapy is concerned, I am officially burned out. I just can’t do this right now, and I feel like the therapists, as well-intentioned as they have been, are disappointed with the progress Tad has made. They have not said that outright to me, but that is what I’m sensing from them. I freely admit that Tad is a hard nut to crack, and I knew there would be no magic formula to make him talk. Apparently, the therapists missed that memo. They wanted us to consult a psychologist at one point, and after being on the waiting list for a month, they have arranged for her to drop by during his appointment on Monday – which may be the last day we go, depending on the billing. But the feeling of “we have no idea what to do with him” has been the prevailing one I’ve been getting over the last month, and has increased my mounting frustration with it all, despite Tad’s improvement, which I am very willing to give the therapists some credit for.

But now, I just want to not have to think about this or deal with it for a while. Actually, that could apply to a lot of things in our lives here at the Corner Haus, but this post is already long enough.

I promise to get back to more normal posting tomorrow.

3 Responses to “Aftermath”

  1. Cousins' Mommy
    November 21st, 2007 06:55

    I think Ane handled it all very well. I have very few memories of Great-Bachan (I was around Ane’s age when she died), and thankfully none are of her dead.

  2. Aunt Lynda
    November 21st, 2007 10:11

    Are you counting me among the seven who read your entries? I do!
    I thought the children were really well-behaved Saturday and it was very appropriate to have them there.

  3. dozeymagz
    November 22nd, 2007 03:56

    Very sorry to hear about your loss. It’s never easy when something like this happens. Especially when you have to explain it to the little ones.
    Hugs to you all.