I've been MIA.
I have a list of things I want to share.
I'll start with the most recent item that has been floating in my head.
My aunt died. Well, she's really my cousin, I think, but for clarity sake, we call her aunt. Well, she's my aunt by marriage to confuse it even more.
She had been diagnosed, well misdiagnosed with different types of cancer but it was the big C nonetheless. She was diagnosed around Thanksgiving. By the timeline, you can tell this is brutal.
I wasn't close close to her but in a way I feel I was. I am close to one of her daughters, my cousin (again, it's really hard to keep track in a big family).
The hardest thing about losing my aunt is not that she isn't with me anymore as her last months were painful. The hardest part was seeing a family go through what my family went through with my dad.
I can't even sum it up. The emotions run the gamut but it all boils down to love. It's love that makes us do the things we do. It's love that helps us endure what we must. It's love that helps us through some of the most painful experiences.
I don't want to go through all the memories that are now etched in my brain. I don't want to go through the memories these fresh ones are pulling up to the surface.
I now have an added milestone in my parenting road, explaining the circle of life. I know she's still young so I'm keeping it at baby steps.
DH and I opted to not bring the kids to the wake. We felt the open casket may be a bit too harsh of an introduction. I went to the afternoon wake and DH went to the evening wake.
At night during prayers, I explained that our Aunt was up with Jesus. I said that we were going to church to say goodbye. Since we've been talking about Easter she added that Jesus saved us and that Jesus saved our Aunt. I gave her a big hug.
The funeral mass we felt was similar enough to our weekly mass that DD and DS attended the mass. We escorted our Aunt to her resting place and DH and his mother attended the burial while the kids stayed with me in the car. I fed both kids and we read, played and talked.
She asked about the coffin and she asked why we cried sometimes. I kept it simple and said the coffin was where her body was resting but that she was up in heaven looking after us. I told her we were crying because we were said to see her go but know she's always near us especially when we pray.
She was a real trooper. The day was very long for her and she held her own. They only time I saw the day was getting to her was during her usual naptime/quiettime. We were at the restaurant afterwards and she just hugged me and sat on my lap.
It was a tiring and emotional few days and I probably worried about how this life experience would effect her.
I recall my first experience with death and a family member when I was 5. My uncle passed away and I recall the church, the church parking lot, the open coffin, being in my Dad's arms saying goodbye to the body and waiting in the car with my Dad at the cemetery. It's little pops of events during the day. It isn't a smooth memory. The only smooth memory is my Dad carrying me to see the body and his voice telling me that my Uncle was in a deep sleep and we were saying goodbye.
I wonder what her memories will be of.