Monday, September 21, 2015

The hardest parenting day

Saturday was my father-in-law's funeral. We'd traveled up after he passed, then back to Seattle for a GI appointment for Ethan (he got his feeding tube taken out! Hurray!), then stayed for the delayed first day of school (teacher strike), then headed back to Canada after school on Thursday. Meanwhile, back in Canada, it had been a rush of setting up things for the funeral and picking up relatives and eating with out-of-town relatives and more preparing for the funeral.  We were all very tired by the time Friday rolled around.

Saturday saw Daniel and my sister-in-law out early to meet up with Daniel's brother and mom and head to the funeral home. I woke up before the kids and sat in the computer room and cried. To date, there has only been one day when I knew things would never be the same, and that was when we left Ethan to go to the hospital to have Vivian. Attending his grandfather's funeral would also change his world. It was so hard to go into their room and wake them up and get them ready to go to the funeral.

As I expected, Ethan walked into the sanctuary of the funeral home, sat down and started weeping. He really loved his grandfather and just kept sobbing that he wanted Papa back and that he was so sad. We eventually went to sit in the entry area, where he cried for about another 30 minutes. It was so hard, as a mom, to see him in that much sadness and not be able to do anything but just hug him.  By the time the funeral started, he had calmed down and sat on Daniel's lap pretty quietly for most of the service. Vivian was more or less unaffected by the whole thing. She was happy to only be able to see Papa's face in the casket, as she had been worried about seeing too much of his body. We made sure to not make the kids do anything that they weren't comfortable with, so she stayed to the side with some cousins at the end of the service when the rest of us went up to pay our final respects. Ethan chose to come up with us, but hid behind Daniel.

The service itself was really lovely. Several of Daniel's (many) cousins are pastors and the service was full of remembrance and of Jesus and the hope of Heaven. The sanctuary was full of many friends and family, all there to celebrate a life well lived. At the graveside, the pallbearers did an impressive job of carrying the very heavy casket down a slight hill, over slippery grass and in the pouring rain. The graveside service had more prayers and goodbyes, before the casket was lowered and buried. The kids, honestly, found this part of the process pretty interesting, as it involved a backhoe and dump truck. Heavy machinery is always interesting to kids!

Chinese funerals are followed by banquets, and about 60 of us gathered at the restaurant to share a meal and chat. Vivian was a little confused by the fact that the plate of chicken included the chicken's head, and I was horrified when Daniel ate the eyeball from the fried fish head.

We came home yesterday after lunch, so that we would have time to get the kids ready for their second day of school. They went off this morning without much fuss, so hopefully it will be a good day. They are both on the second floor of the school building and they look so little going up the stairs together... I'm glad that we're getting back into a routine though. Ethan in particular needs routine. And I need Ethan to not be grouchy, so being back in school works for us all.

What a summer.

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