Oops# 1,743,393: Kids say the darndest things, even at funerals! A few years ago my grandma passed away after living a really long wonderful life. At this time my daughter Samantha was 5 and my son Luke was 3. I talked it over with my husband, and we both agreed that this would be a good opportunity for both kids, but especially Samantha, to attend their first funeral. After all, this was their great grandmother and although they knew her, they had only met her a little more then a handful of times. Because the funeral was out of town, I had decided that I would take Samantha to the funeral home and stay at a hotel with her that night, and my husband would meet us in the morning for the funeral with Luke.
I remember Luke sitting on our bed and me blow drying Samantha’s hair and attempting to prepare her for what she would see and hear. “So Samantha, although grandma’s soul is in heaven, you’re going to see her body in what looks like a bed. They call that bed a casket. Grandma is going to look peaceful, however, it’s just her body. She won’t be able to talk to you because she’s in heaven.” I could see her listening intently and I kept thinking to myself that I needed to be really careful how I said things because I didn’t want to scare her in any way.
After a couple hour drive, we made it to the funeral home and as we got out of the car I reiterated to Samantha one more time what she could expect. She looked up at me with the biggest eyes and, although I could tell she was a bit nervous, I knew she would be just fine. We walked in and said our hellos to our family and friends and gave my grandpa a hug, as he was sitting on a couch close to the casket. I asked Samantha if she wanted to go up to the casket with me and she agreed. We knelt down together in front of the casket and I wasn’t really prepared for all the questions that were about to come flowing out of my daughter’s mouth. I had envisioned a nice prayer and then we would retreat to the back of the funeral home. I should know by now when it comes to being a parent, nothing ever goes the way you envisioned.
“Mom, why does grandma have a pillow? Mom, why is the bottom part shut? Are grandma’s legs cut off? Mom, why is she looking up? Wouldn’t she want to turn her head to see everyone that came to say “Hi” to her?” Let’s just say all of these questions weren’t asked using her inside voice either. I was pretty positive that everyone there heard all of her questions. I was most concerned with how my grandpa, who was directly behind us, was going to take all this. Thank you to the good Lord above because as I turned around, I looked at my grandpa who had a great big smile on his face and was chuckling to himself over all of Samantha’s questions. Whew, I just dodged a big embarrassing bullet by being able to give a nervous laugh and say, “Aren’t kids so curious and cute?” Little did I know this would be a drop in the bucket compared to what was about to take place when Luke arrived.
After spending the better part of that night answering all of Samantha’s questions, I again started to prepare her for what to expect at the cemetery, hoping that we wouldn’t have as many questions on day two. The next day came and Samantha and I went to the funeral home again for a small service before heading to the cemetery. I started to get inpatient as Brian was running late, and I didn’t want him or Luke to miss the service. All of a sudden I looked down and saw that my phone was ringing (it was on silent) and it was my husband calling. Totally irritated, I answered the phone and whispered, “Where on earth are you?” “Yeah Robyn, I’m not sure we should come in. We’re in the parking lot.” “What on earth do you mean you’re not sure you should come in? Get in here!” I hung up the phone and crossed my fingers that no one heard our conversation. About 2 minutes later the back doors to the funeral home flew open and in mid prayer all I hear is Luke yelling, “Where’s the body? I want to see the body!!!” I turned around and in utter shock and horror stood up and gave my husband the look of death and motioned for him to get Luke out of there. My husband grabbed Luke and took him into the lobby to wait until the service was over. Apparently, I was completely unaware that my son was listening closely to my conversation with Samantha prior to leaving where I was attempting to describe the things she would see and hear while at the funeral. Luke for some reason only heard the word “body” and became fixated on “seeing the body” and talked to Brian about it the entire way to meet us. Thus, the waiting in the parking lot and him not being sure if he should bring Luke in or not.
I can say this, I’ve been embarrassed more times then I’d like to admit in my life! At this point though, this situation was the cherry on my ridiculously big cake of embarrassment that seems to keep gaining bigger and bigger tiers as my kids get older. Moms, please dear God please, learn from my mistake. As I’ve said before, boys are a different breed! When discussing death and dying with them, know that they will go with the literal side of things every time and just assume that they are ALWAYS listening. I must admit, many a beer was had that night, and I’m one really lucky girl for having such an understanding family!
They look so sweet and innocent here! If I could only predict what goes through their little minds, my life would be so much easier!!!