I realize I never posted again about my FIL. He passed away four weeks ago with B and his sister by his side. It was not an easy or peaceful end, but I know they gave him as much comfort as they could in the end.
I am so incredibly proud of my kids and how they were when we went to see him for the last time.
When B and I first talked about taking the kids to see him, I didn't want them to go. I remembered visiting my grandmother right before she died and feeling scared. But as I thought about it, I realized that I wasn't doing the kids any favors by keeping death from them. Yes, it's scary, but I could help them through it by answering their questions honestly, to the best of my ability.
When we visited, the kids were all very sweet, telling him about their day and things that had been going on with them recently. They gave him hugs and held his hand. They told him they loved him. We tried to keep the mood light. Kids are good at that because they are easily distracted. They giggled over my SIL's dogs and asked a million questions about everything around them. It had been a long day for us, having spent the afternoon at Fernbank, so after a couple of hours we headed home. It was an emotional good-bye. In the car, each of us had a different reaction to the reality of our visit. Robotson was crying. Funny Girl was quiet. Robotson got upset that no one else "seemed to care." Before I could say anything, Dimples said what I'd been telling the kids all week, that people grieve differently and there was no right or wrong way to do it. I broke down hearing her sound so wise at four, so glad that I had overcome my own fear of them being hurt by this experience. B and I made the right choice by not trying to shield them. I think we avoided the fear of the unknown by being honest with them.
They've all come to me at different times over the last weeks to ask me questions or when they remembered something about him. Funny Girl, who has been the most quiet about it, seems worried that she will forget him (and that when people die, they are forgotten.) I think this may come up a few more times, so I may revisit this in a future post.