I was already feeling pretty emotional at the All Souls Day mass. Our parish mourned the deaths of parishioners in the past year by reading their names and having loved ones come up to the front of the altar to light prayer candles.
Watching anguished faces approach the candles was hard.
Recalling lost loved ones of years gone by was hard.
Contemplating my own mortality is always hard.
Contemplating my mortality with respect to how it will affect my children was very hard.
Trying to explain what the mass was all about to my precocious and curious older kids (6, 5, and 3.5) was awkwardly hard.
Talking to my kids about the deceased best friend from whom Alex got his middle name was really hard.
The hardest part of the ceremony, though, was when I accidentally made my 3.5 yo daughter think her grandfather was dead.
To my kids, my father is Pop-Pop. To me, his father was Pop-Pop. As I attempted to whisper an explanation of whom we were remembering and why, I spoke of “my Pop-Pop”. Unfortunately, Lily didn’t hear “my”.
With a doe-eyed and slightly alarmed expression she said, “Pop-Pop is dead?!”
I almost bawled as I reassured her that he was fine and I was talking about his dad. True, I was already fighting against tears, and maybe having a newborn in the house has tilted my hormonal balance a bit, but that almost destroyed me.
My heart broke knowing that I’d panicked my sweet little girl like that, and it just got worse from there.
No, Sweetie, Pop-Pop isn’t dead, but now I can’t stop thinking about when he does…