Sorry for the lack of blogging all week. It was a long and busy one.
Last Sunday, my family went to the funeral home to say our private goodbyes to Nana. On Monday, there was a public funeral and reception.
Initially, I thought that the girls should not attend any of these events, in case they were disruptive. So, to my surprise, my Dad's response when I asked about the girls attending was, "they can absolutely attend..." It got me reevaluating my initial thoughts. While they are only 16 months old, I realized that it was important for them to be included (for them and for us).
Last Wednesday, a few hours after Nana passed, my family and my aunt, uncle and cousin met at my parents' house. Again, I worried that my two tornados would disrupt everyone. It was actually the complete opposite. Quinn only wanted to be in my Dad's arms so that she could give him hugs and kisses. The girls lightened the mood and even gave everyone permission to smile.
Arriving at the funeral home last Sunday, we all walked into the room where Nana lay in an open casket. After allowing my Dad and my aunt a few minutes next to Nana, I approached with Teagan in my arms. We have to say bye to Nana, I told her. Teagan then pointed to Nana, waved and blew her kisses. Quinn did the same. It was incredibly sweet and brought tears to my eyes. The girls quietly walked around the room until we were all ready to go to dinner.
On Monday morning, we arrived at the church for the funeral. Our family was seated in the two front pews. It would be easy to dart out the side door if one of the girls started acting up. Teagan did leave the service part way through but only because crinkling every paper in sight and chatting away was far too appealing. Quinn, on the other hand, stood quietly on the lap of Jenn or my brother with her hands on top of the front pew. She stared intently at the Reverend and swayed to the soloist's beautiful rendition of On Eagles Wings. The girls then charmed Nana's family and friends at the reception that followed.
At 16 months, I would have expected them to not understand. I didn't give them enough credit. While I know that they cannot understand death at such a young age, they definitely understood on some level. I'm grateful that I didn't listen to my initial thoughts and allowed them to say their goodbyes to Nana in their own way.