We knew that my father-in-law did not have much longer to live; we felt within ourselves that he would most likely not make the weekend. Having my brother’s son being baptized in the country meant we now had two options. The first cancel our family going to the baptism; or the second sending the children to the country to come back after the death of their beloved Opa. After a quick discussion hubby and I thought we should send the children away, phone calls and plans were made. I was to bring the children in to the hospital after school that day for what we believed would be the children’s last time to see their Opa. On the way to school that morning I decide to tell the children of the plans for the weekend. My youngest was at six years old happy to see her cousins and eager to go, but we had underestimated our son and eldest daughter; they felt that it was their place to be by their Opa in his final days. They wanted to be close by when he died and nothing I could say would change their minds. I picked them up from school and told them to say their goodbyes to Opa and to tell him anything they felt they needed to say. My father in law was by now having problems talking. Hubby meet me at the hospital and we discussed what the children wanted to do; having taken aside our two children for a quick chat hubby decided that the children knew best what they could handle. Our youngest child left for the country. My son went to visit a friend for the day. My daughter played netball while I coached and then went to visit her Opa with me. It was around 5pm and my father-in-law seemed to be steady, so I went to pick up my son and grab some food to eat back at the hospital. 6pm we were back at the hospital. My mother-in-law needing a break went home; unsure if she would return for the night. Hubby wanted to stay with his father, but I did not feel like we should leave him yet as the children are 9 and 11 they could have a late Saturday night if need be. My son settled in one of the lounge rooms to watch television, while my daughter went to the chapel to write a new prayer for her Opa. Just before 9pm my mother -in-law returned to spend the night with her husband. My daughter wanted to make her Oma a cup of tea, so we left the room together. On the way back we were told to quickly get back to the room, my son came running to me, we raced in the room to see my father-in-law die. My two children could not stop crying for two hours. Hubby decided to keep his boy with him as they did the final things at the hospital with my mother-in-law. My daughter and I went home listening to her favorite Christian music. First I spoke to my daughter and later to my son, touching on Ephesians 3:1-8 A time and season for everything. They say children cope better when they see a family member die of cancer. My children seem at peace with the passing of their beloved Opa. Both my children said “This was one of the most important days of my life.” I am proud of my two children and the maturity they have shown in this major life event for them.
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