To my son Tommy,
I put you to bed last night with an ad hoc prayer before our normal structured prayers . In it I mentioned the word grief. "Daddy, what's grief?" When I explained it to be a deep sorrow for something lost, you immediately added, "Oh so our special thing we lost is Grandpa Leo and we all feel sad and that is grief?" Basically. You are so smart.
I wish there were a way to shield you from grief, not that I would be doing you any favors if I were to do so. Life is filled with grief and sooner or later you are forced to learn to deal with this emotional cocktail. Still your mom and I kept you home from school today. Later in the night, after we put you to bed in your own bed, you got up to use the potty and then before heading back to bed, you came in to our room crying. You sobbed, "It is just not the same without Grandpa Leo." Your mom held you dearly in her arms and we all cried together. When we offered the reprieve from school for today you said, "Will I feel better Tuesday?" Oh sweet boy, no. We explained that this sadness might be with us from time to time for a very long time and might pop up at the most inopportune times. You weren't thrilled by this prospect. "Then I guess I should just go back to school because it won't do any good to miss." Of course, when you said this, we were already approaching if not passed the midnight hour and your mom and I had made up our minds that you should stay home.
I don't know how to explain that time won't necessarily heal this sorrow that you feel, but like I have said before, it will allow us to learn to live with this sorrow and many others in our heart as we once again allow ourselves to live with joy and happiness in that same heart. Like I mentioned yesterday, our hearts are incredible machines that can fit all these emotions and not even come close to capacity. Still the pain and sorrow and grief we feel now has just been poured into our hearts, and it may take some time to settle before we pour too much else on top.
Sincerely with love from your dad,