Sunday, January 10, 2016

Death Of A Friend

On Tuesday one of the young men on my son's 100lb football team lost his mother suddenly.  She had been sick and had cancer, but had beaten it once.  It came back quickly with a vengence and her death was a shock to all.  I had to tell my 11 year old that his buddy's mom passed away.  This week has been one of my reflection.  He has asked a lot of pointed questions about death and about how his friend will adjust and how his life will change since his mom was a single parent and he had no siblings.  I answered him honestly when I could and we discussed things when I wasn't sure.  It gave me insight into the caring, thoughtful young man I am raising when what I usually get is often a snarky and rude kid.  

However, I have really traumatized my son today. We had another long talk about death in the car coming back from Ecoadventures before going to the funeral home. I was explaining the difference in a viewing and a funeral. He wanted to know why they left the "box" at the grave site and when did they throw the body in the grave.....What?? No, no, son. The body is buried in the casket! He was so surprised. The poor kid thought that your body just got tossed in a hole and they buried you!  That in itself had to be an awfully scary thought!

 Then his dad and I took him to  the funeral home and the first thing his friend tells him is he can't play football with them next year because he has to move to North Beach, which is about an hour from us. So Dakota is heartbroken about this news because he can't really grasp the whole reality of the other situation anyway. He just stands there looking at his buddy.  I tried to get him to speak to him, but he wouldn't say a word. 

Then we go up to pay our respects and there is no casket. Our friend's mom chose to be cremated. Sigh. I had to pull him aside and explain about cremation and ashes and urns. He was shocked and horrified. He lightened the moment with humor, saying "I am traumatized for life", but I could tell by his eyes that it was really a shock.   There is really no easy way to tell someone about that process, but we did talk all night about the reasons why some people choose that option. Now I'm afraid the poor kid is going to have bad dreams. He's worried about losing me since it happened to his friend and now he's got worries about how people are cremated. This week was full of a little too much reality for an 11 year old boy.

And now, a few days later, he has gone back to being his carefree self.  I am glad we got the chance to discuss things and that some of the truths that were revealed were calming.  I am sorry that he had to hear some of the more scary things, but life is scary and hard and at 11 and fairly mature otherwise, I felt he needed to hear the truth.  I don't think I could get much by him anyway.  

I look at my son and I am thankful for the normalcy he experiences in his daily life and my heart breaks for our friend's son who will now have so many changes and for whom nothing will be normal for a very long time.  Suzanne was a good woman who spent her time working hard and raising her son.  She was a proud football momma and I know she will be an angel on his shoulder forever more.  

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