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March 1, 2003
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Liam's Memorial Service

9:58 pm: Liam's memorial service was this morning. It wasn't a funeral, it was a way for everyone to remember the two-year-old little boy that had touched a lot of lives. John was asked to be one of the ushers and they'd asked him, specifically, to dress as he usually does, which is a Hawaiian shirt and shorts on a snowy, slushy day.

Jet had a very restless night. I wonder if he'd picked up on certain things or if he'd just seen stuff on TV that was giving him nightmares. Or maybe he just needed some reassurance of some kind. He was up, constantly, from 11:30 on, and John was with him for a couple of hours, and I took over and just slept on Jet's futon with him from about 2 am until he woke up for real a bit after 6. I think that the biggest challenge for me about this whole being a mama thing is having to get up EARLY.


But I was awake, and I wasn't in too bad a shape, so I just played with Jet and we had fun. He had a bit of breakfast in the form of Cheez-Its and giant strawberries, and had a good time playing with cars and things. John didn't get up until 8 and was still pretty bleary. He's been low on sleep all week and it was finally catching up to him.

But since John was up well before our 9 am deadline we went, first, to the Family Affair in Longmont and had a great breakfast. Jet drank probably half a dozen half and halves, and then played for most of our meal before finally eating half a piece of French toast with plenty of syrup and nibbling on his bacon. By that point, John remembered we had to pay cash and neither of us had any.

So John went out, drove to our bank's ATM (which was less than a block away) and was back with the money before Jet had finished his breakfast or his orange juice. So there was plenty of time. Amusingly enough for me, I wasn't worried at all.

This is new for me. Reading Fear Less has made me very aware of when I'm starting to worry about something that is only imaginary. John was going to come back, there was no question about that. It was entirely unlikely that the cash machine would be out of money. All the chances for things to actually go in any wrong direction I might imagine were vanishingly small and it's not like Jet or I had to worry about it. And, sure enough, it all turned out just fine.

Yay for giving up imagined fears!

The reality of the memorial service was like being squeezed for tears. I wasn't raised to be emotional, and pretty much everything in the service, in the reception area, in the memorial, and every thing everyone did was pretty much structured to allow all emotions to be expressed. In spades. It's what good memorial services do: let people mourn.

But it really hammered away at my own sense of self-control. I cried a lot. It wasn't bad. It helped in odd ways. John and Jet got up and spoke for a while during the sharing and I think it really helped him. Just having him carry Jet up there made me cry a bit. There was a poem that the mom had written, it was printed on the back of the bulletin, and I couldn't read it or think about it without crying. The whole feeling of outrage, of "Why this child?" was expressed, thoroughly, though the reality of having no answer now was also faced. There are the physical/medical reasons, clearly enough, but the metaphysical answers don't exist. And I was glad to not be presented with a pat answer or a homely. Just the reality that there is no answer that can satisfy that question at the most basic level.

I think it really helped the family out a lot to have all the support. It helped them to see more than two-hundred and fifty of their friends, fellow Congregationalists, family, and chosen family all there to support them. They were loved. Deeply. It was expressed every way given, and I'm sure they got the message.

Jet was exhausted by the time all this was done, and I was exhausted, too. He fell asleep a bare three blocks away from the church. There was a luncheon that the church had organized for everyone there, afterwards, but I was just glad to not do it. I was too tired. We got home, John and I fell into bed with Jet asleep in his car seat at our feet, and we all napped for another hour and a half. John got up when Jet did and took care of him while I got another hour's worth of sleep. I needed it.

The rest of the afternoon was just lazy. I played with Jet or read while Jet played and John did tax stuff and stuff around the house. At five, Jet was looking for snacks as he hadn't eaten any of the mini corn dogs that John had made for him, so we went into Erie and experienced the Erie Cafe's dinner.

It's really easy. They said, "We have prime rib or orange roughy with a baked potato or vegetables and a salad or soup. The soup of the day is split pea. What will you have?"

Prime ribs for the both of us. Baked potato with sour cream for me, butter for John. The split pea soup for me, and the salad for John. There was too much soup for me, so I didn't eat it all. Jet got chicken fingers and fries, and we were all set. Jet was thoroughly distracted by crayons, other kids, and the salt and pepper for a while, but then settled in and ate all his fries. He didn't touch the chicken this time, but we might have another chance with the leftovers. They also had wonderful, buttery, tender dinner rolls, and I ate far too many of them. But they were so good.

Instead of eating our pie, we took it home with us. Just too full. We played with Jet, and I got to finish De Becker's Fear Less and especially appreciated his analysis of primetime news. I'd always thought that TV news is alarmist, now I know precisely how much it is focussed on doing exactly that and why it helps boost their ratings.


Jet would only eat John's chocolate cream pie. He wouldn't touch my apple pie. I'll have to remember that for future dessert protection. *grin*

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