Friday, February 5, 2010

When Do We Dig Her Hole

Every day since Noah has arrived in our family, life lessons have been presented to him. Some of these lessons are more subtle than others. This past week my sister-in-law passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her death was Noah's first experience with death since joining our family 18 months ago. I was very cautious entering into the conversation with Noah regarding death, as I had no idea what type of memories this aunt's passing might ignite. For the most part of the day of her funeral I carefully watched Noah and his reaction to her death.

Fran's funeral was Thursday. She had requested a full Catholic funeral mass, with all the symbolism attached. Prior to the service I directed his attention away from the open casket. During the actual service he sat somewhat bored...typical of his reaction to every Sunday at church as the funeral mass very closely followed the protocol of our everyday mass. When the priest waved the incense over the coffin Noah still had his eyes cast down to the floor. Soon the perfume of frankincense and myrrh spread across the church. Noah turned to me with his big brown eyes and smiled widely, "Ethiopia!" he said excitedly. Now his interest was peaked. He obviously had attended Orthodox funerals in Ethiopia. He stood on his toes to watch. After the priest returned to the altar Noah turned to me and asked,
"When do we go and dig her hole?"

When do we go and dig her hole? When do WE go and dig her hole?

That a small church on the Olympic Peninsula...under the veil of a somber moment Noah learned another life lesson. We do not have to dig holes. When it comes to facing the death of a loved one, the only job we have is that of embracing one another. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just embracing one another.

1 comment:

  1. What a precious moment for both you and your son. I love the perspective it offers, not just for him, but us too! Thank you!