|The unbelievable sunrise that morning.|
I knew the day was going to be long and difficult, but I remember thinking, "How bad can it be?"
Never, ever think those words.
I managed to get myself and both kids fed and dressed and looking relatively good by 9:00. We were only running a little bit late. I even packed a few toys for them to play with. We scrambled into the car and managed to get to the church in time for the family service at 9:15.
I sat with my husband and Tyler at the front during the family service. I wasn't sure what to expect from either kid. It was open casket--and Tyler stared at his great-grandfather as if he was expecting him to move. He held my hand and looked like he was trying not to cry. Derek wasn't phased at all. He was climbing all over me and the pew, jumping down to the ground and rolling on the floor, and playing with his two Star Wars figures. He kept humming Darth Vaders theme song (loudly) and saying "zoom zoom" when the light sabers hit each other. Every once in a while he'd loudly say, "Dark Vater!"
I told my husband we'd sit in the back for the actual funeral.
Before the family service was even halfway over, Derek was being so disruptive I had to take him to the nursery. At least there he could be loud and not bother anyone.
Have I mentioned that my son does not have a volume button? Saying "shhh" makes no difference what-so-ever.
He played with cars in the nursery for a while, and that seemed to help calm him down.
10:30 rolled around. Funeral time. I cringed--I wondered if I should even BOTHER to take Derek out of the nursery? But I wanted to support my husband and his family. Talk about conflicting emotions. So I took Derek and sat in the middle on an end, where there was an easy escape route.
We were asked to stand. Derek refused. So I tried, but he slumped to the floor. The family entered single file from a side door and went to sit in the front of the church. Derek immediately started rolling around on the ground in front of me and whimpering. I tried to get him to sit in the chair beside me and he went right back down on the ground. I decided to let him be. But he was making a lot of noise---whimpering and asking, "Derek, what's wrong?" Finally, after getting death glares from the people around me, I picked him up and carried him back to the nursery for the remainder of the service.
Next we went to the cemetery. I wasn't about to let Derek run around outside while they were putting a body in the ground. It was too solemn an occasion. So Tyler and my husband went to the burial and Derek and I stayed in the car. I let Derek have the Ipad, because I could tell he was fidgety. Only one problem--there was no internet connection. He tried to get it to connect, so that he could watch a muppet video, and it didn't work. He screamed at the top of his lungs, "WATCH CHICKENS!!!!!!" and started crying. I said, "Derek, it's broken." Then I opened the app for Angry Birds and let him play that. It worked. Until Derek saw that Tyler was with Daddy. Then he repeated over and over, "Daddy, wait!" until my husband and Tyler came back to the car.
By that time it was almost 1:00. I'd given Derek juice and a rice krispy treat, but he was still hungry.
We followed everyone to the luncheon hall, where a buffet style lunch was being served. They had ham and salads and rolls and potatoes and green beans and all kinds of desserts. But Derek wouldn't eat a single thing they were serving. Not even the cake.
Derek was becoming more and more agitated. There were too many people, there was too much noise, and it had just been too big of a day. While the rest of us were eating, Derek hid underneath the table, near my legs. Next thing I knew, he was sobbing, uncontrollably. I told my husband, "He's done. We've gotta go."
And we did.
We bolted. We got out of there as fast as humanly possible, went back to Grandma's house, packed, and hit the road.
I thought that was it. That the nightmare was over. Derek had fallen asleep almost immediately. I heaved a sigh of relief.
But I was wrong. Again.
He wet his pants.
(Only I didn't realize it, because all he said was "Potty.")
We pulled into a gas station, and while I was in the bathroom with Derek, I realized his pants were wet. Of course, Derek refused to put his pants or underwear back on. I had a moment of panic. Was I supposed to carry my son back out to the car pant-less? I had to call my husband on the phone and have him send new ones in with Tyler.
I got Derek dressed and situated again in the car and when we were almost home I got the call from Tyler's school about a teacher at the school dying. They asked me to have a talk with Tyler about death, since it was the mother of one of Tyler's classmates who had died. Crap. Tyler had just seen his great-grandfather put in the ground.
And later that night was the call from the neurologist confirming that Derek was having seizures.
Was there ANYTHING good about the day? Yes. Tyler was awesome. He was well-behaved the entire day. And our talk went really well. I had briefly mentioned the teacher's death in the car, but then when I was tucking him into bed, we chatted again. I asked if he had any questions. We talked about the possibility that I could die. We talked about his great-grandfather, his friend Z, and the fact that his friend had lost his MOM. We talked about Derek. Tyler told me I couldn't die, because Derek needed me, and that HE needed me. (Choke back sobs.) Tyler also asked me, "Does Derek understand what dying is...?" I told him, "No, not really." Tyler then asked, "Would he miss me if I died?" I replied, "Of course honey. He misses you when you're at school in the afternoon. He doesn't understand death, but he knows what love is."