Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goodbye Grand Meow Meow

I know from the title you are expecting a story about a cat.  It is a story about the passing of Rowan's Great Grandmother, whom she calls Grand Meow Meow.

For quite a few years Grand Meow Meow has not felt well.  She went to the hospital many, many times every year.  She had mastered all of the "Golden Years" ailments, diseases, syndroms, and disorders.

Over the years it became apparent that she had acquired enough old lady credits to move into Silver Meadows, otherwise known as Land of The Living Dead.  (Don't kid yourselves folks)  But still she persevered.  There was even a piece of paper that proclaimed she was to stay alive or else!  Even though, in her lucid days she had said not to do that.  Thankfully not really when she no longer remembered who anyone was or where she was, someone reversed her decision so she could remain in a world full of strangers.  Sounds mean, I know.

I can only hope that she derived great pleasure from the little girl who would go see her and eat ice cream with her and talk to her for hours.

One night Grand Meow Meow outwitted everyone and escaped into the great beyond and left this Earthly world.  Now we were going to experience a funeral.  For Rowan, a first funeral.

If you're a parent then you know this is one of the scary unknowns.  "Oh dear, how in the world are they going to act?"  Will there be shock, amazement, bawling, screaming, fainting, or even disinterest.  Mostly we worry about the bawling and screaming and hey-my-kid-is-making-a-scene reactions.

Rowan decided she needed flowers and made a lovely card with hearts and butterflies.  She picked a nice somber dress.  Now we were off to the funeral.

At a funeral there are a lot of missteps, unless you happen to go to a lot of funerals.  There's issues of culture and religions.  Where do you sit, who do you give condolences, who do you tell first.  We made it through all of that and now it was time to walk past the coffin.

I walked with her while she carried her flowers and card, looking ever so small and shy.  As we reached the coffin I picked her up and she whacked the flowers on top of the coffin, "smack."  "Ga-bye Gramma," in her best Boston accent.   I placed the card on top under the big flowers and we walked on.  Not too bad.  Whew!

Then the wind blew.  Whoosh goes the card.  Spinning and fluttering like the butterfly drawings had come to life.  The card came down and settled, sliding into the...burial hole.  Oh. My. Lanta.  Of course Rowan DIVES for the hole to save the card.  No no no.  This is going all wrong.

Luckily, I have been blessed with sometimes lightning speed reflexes.  I don't know what one of those speed measuring guns would have clocked it, but I bet it would have said super fast.  I grabbed onto her and stopped her from going in head first after the card.  Nervous laughter.  Keep moving Rowan.

The rest of the funeral proceeded without further event and we returned home thankful and a little sad.  Rowan talks about wishing she could go eat ice cream with Grand Meow Meow and twirl in her ballet skirt for her. 

I'm glad she has these memories.  For most of us at funerals, we are older and knew the person for awhile and had experienced their imperfections, some of which can be horrific.  But for a child who only knew someone at the end of their days eating ice cream, it is a pure memory.   Not a memory edited over time, just 2 companions sharing the day.  I'm really happy Rowan has that. 

Now reality is slowly sinking in.  It makes Rowan sad for a little while.  No more trips to Silver Meadows, no more ice cream on lazy Saturdays.  "They're giving her room to another old lady, right?"  Yes, Rowan, they gave her room to another old lady.  She ponders for a moment but is soon off on another adventure.  I wish handling death could be this easy all the time. 

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