How do you tell a 5-year-old her very beloved grandfather has passed away?
It was the hardest thing I had to do.
Well, perhaps not. Because in actual fact, I didn’t have to tell her per se.
When I got the news that my father had passed away suddenly, my reaction got the children worried enough to know that the news was the worst. Grandad had left the world after a massive heart attack.
I could not come to terms with it. How could the children?
My father being overseas meant that I attended the funeral with my siblings. The children stayed back with Hubs and attended school.
I thought it best.
I wanted them to remember him as he had been – a loving grandfather, full of life, playing with them, talking to them.
I never hid anything from the children. They knew that Grandad was no more and he had gone to heaven to be with Grandma.
The older two could perhaps understand death better. They had been through it with my mother.
My five-year-old did not.
She wrote letter upon letter – with the same strain – Please Come Back – it said.
And it broke my heart.
As I tried to explain that Grandad was not coming back – she always retorted with – ‘but why, it’s not fair’.
Yes, it’s not fair – I wanted to scream too. But, that’s life.
70 is too young an age to die.
Especially when we didn’t get to say goodbye.
During half-term, we took the children overseas with us. To say goodbye properly.
Aeryn still thought she would see her grandfather – in the grave. She thought nothing of the fact that she would see him not living but still. As she had seen him in the photo taken during the funeral. Lifeless.
As I explained to her that Grandad was beneath the earth in the grave, she said but why can’t we see him one last time and kiss him goodbye.
I told her I had kissed him for her when I had gone back to attend the funeral.
As we stood by the grave, she realised that she would never see him again. And as I struggled to be strong for the children. I realised too – Death is Final.
The ‘Please come back’ letters stopped.
Just the ‘I Love You and Miss You’ letters remain.