I am really not sure if Joshua understood what exactly was going on yesterday , at his Grandad’s funeral, I guess we will never truly know. But he behaved himself impeccably : we were on the front row, right next to the coffin, but he did not try to grab out at anything thankfully. He alternately jiggled in his wheelchair, we sang some rousing traditional hymns that Grandad would have approved of, or rested with his head on his knees , as we had only had about an hour’s sleep the night before. I was very proud of how well he behaved both in the church and at the graveside, as both are stressful and emotional situations where the potential for a scene was huge. In fact I was the only one who caused a scene at the burial, when I fell over onto my muddy knees, while stooping to place some flowers next to his grave!
Each of his grown up children bravely spoke out, giving eulogies, explaining what their father had meant to them and giving us a greater insight into his life and his eldest grand-daughter read a poem. Joshua and his toddler cousins showed by their presence, all dressed up in their Sunday-best, what their Grandad had meant to them. I am not truthfully sure how much any of the three of them understood, but they certainly appreciated that it was a family day that Grandad was missing from and they picked up the sadness from all of the tears that were being shed and they all tried to cheer their weeping parents up, each in their own way.
The loss of a father/grandfather leads me inevitably to think of my own Dad, who is still sorely missed, and of course of our own mortality and my fears for Joshua’s future, when we are no longer here to protect and take care of him. Who will love him like we do and keep him safe through his adulthood? Who will explain to him where his beloved parents have gone and that they will no longer be able to look after and protect him? I find those questions heart-breaking to consider and so, I tend to push them away ordinarily, but days like yesterday mean that they cannot be ignored. Those questions have to be confronted, no matter how painful, and plans need to be put in place; we need to take as much care of Joshua when we are dead, as we do now, so that he does not need to worry about his future. Rather than expecting our son to take care of us in our old age, we have to take care of him in our old age.