Life finally feels like it is starting to get back to normal (whatever that may be). The viewing and the funeral were really tough. Even little Gabe seemed to figure some of it out. There was a family viewing on Saturday, and, when Gabe saw him, he said, "Grandpa’s sleeping." I figured the best response was to say, “Yes, Grandpa is sleeping and he has gone to be with God now.” Well, the next day at the public viewing, Gabe was outside with my sister. All of a sudden he grabbed her hand and said, “I HAVE to go see my Grandpa.” When they came back into the funeral home, he grabbed my best friend and said, “Come on Aunt Jennifer. We have to go see my Grandpa.” He was very insistent. When they got up to the front of the viewing line, he stood there with a very serious look on his face. My sister said you could just see the wheels turning in his head. He finally said, in a kind of sad voice, “My Grandpa’s still sleeping.” My mom had joined them at this point and told him, “Yes, Grandpa is with God right now.” He kept looking and rubbed his face a bit. Then Gabe looked at my sister and said (in a sad voice), “Aunt Becky, I HAVE to go home now.” Up until then, he had been quite happily running around and playing with everyone. I guess, even though he doesn’t fully understand, he figured out something was really wrong. It nearly broke my heart when my mom told me about it. The hardest part for me was when my MIL bent over to give my FIL one last kiss. She kissed his forehead and his cheek and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. You could see her body shaking while she cried as she did this. Then, she turned to my hubby and asked him to take FIL's glasses off. She bent down and gently kissed each eyelid and then had my hubby replace his glasses. She said that was their nightly ritual and she needed to do it one last time. It was so beautiful, tender, and absolutely heartbreaking. Theirs was a true love story.
My older two boys have done a remarkable job dealing with everything but they both completely lost it at the funeral (I think we all did). Joey just sobbed and sobbed. And Marty cried a bit but, his tough moment was at the gravesite. When they were lowering the casket, he knelt behind my MIL, buried his head in her shoulder, and sobbed his heart out. It was so hard not being able to make it all better for them. Vic and I both have been relieved to make it through the services. I think we both lost it when the military honor guard handed my MIL the flag and the brass from the 21 gun salute. It still doesn’t seem quite real.