Back in January, I wrote a posting entitled "Feeling Philosophical." In it, I told all of you that I could not go into the details of why I was writing that posting. Now I can.
We buried a friend today. Michael was 44. His three children are all within a couple of months of the ages of my three children. His youngest is in the same grade as Keren. They have attended the same school since kindergarten.
Very often, a eulogy is a testament to the deceased. It speaks of a person's decency, kindness, compassion, and all of the things for which we should all strive to be remembered. Michael was a friend. All of the words were true.
Sometimes, the testament to the deceased is beyond the words of the eulogy. In this case, the funeral home had to open up a divider between two chapels to make one large chapel. Even still, people were standing in the back.
Jennifer and I spoke to the kids over the last few days as to what they might expect at the cemetery. They fully understood, I suppose. In any event, they are old enough to go to the cemetery. I think sometimes that we shelter kids too much. Doing so creates a spookiness to cemeteries that is simply inappropriate. I would rather they understand that we will all eventually take a one-way trip. It is sad, but not remotely spooky.
I absolutely believe that a child should be able to say goodbye to a loved one. To deny a child that right can cause issues down the stretch. Furthermore, if the child is old enough to have a meaningful relationship with a mourner (beyond play group level), then the child can go and stand with a mourning friend.