This has been a decidedly mixed week. On the minus side, our friend and my son-in-law's father passed away after a series of illnesses. It has been a difficult time for the family. It happened just a day after my son-in-law's birthday so obviously that celebration got put on the back burner.
Dealing with a loss of that kind has many different ramifications. Take for example the task of explaining all of this to a large number of children who range in age from 2 to 10.
The younger ones don't get it so it doesn't usually result in awkward situations. The older ones do get it but they have better coping skills and they seem to have a fairly good grasp of the finality of a death.
It's the children in the 4, 5 and 6 year old range where it can get dicey. For example 5-year-old grand daughter Courtney wanted to know if when he died his tongue was hanging out. And then my 4-year-old grand son Cole who while not really related to Don liked him very much so when the family finally got together to celebrate his Uncle Mike's birthday, he kept asking "where's Pops?". My son took him to a quiet place and tried to explain as best he could that Pops wouldn't be at any more birthday parties.
Don's passing resulted in our having to cancel a 4 day vacation to a children-oriented hotel complex that we were all going to including Sandi's visiting niece and her son who were with us from Texas all week.
Nevertheless, we found things to do and ways to enjoy ourselves.
Michelle and TJ have left and Don's calling hours and funeral are tonight and tomorrow. Then, like always, things will settle down and life will go on--except for Don's wife. She faces the grim task of making all the necessary calls and trying to get used to being alone but she has a large family and many friends so they'll be there to help.
Now it's off to babysit for the boys.