Friday, July 30, 2010

Some (rather rambling) Thoughts on Mourning

Today was the Share Burial at Calvary Cemetery for Alexis Gabriel and other babies who had died in the same time frame. I had expected just a simple burial, not an event requiring a program, so that there was a program and "service" threw me for a loop.
I like cemeteries. I like funerals (as our church does them). I do not care for the composite of poetry, meditation, and contemporary music that is usually termed a "memorial service". I finally walked off during the last poetry reading because for reasons I couldn't articulate at the time, it was not helpful - more just vaguely upsetting.
I sorted out why on the way home. The service seemed focused on how losing someone is always sad, that we don't stop loving someone when they die, and the grieving of survivors rather than the comfort of the Resurrection. There WAS that, sort of, hinted at, but that wasn't the main message. Thinking back, that may be the result of trying to simplify the service - neutering it, actually - so as to "reach" everyone there, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, what have you. It was generically Christian, but with a kind of humanist feel to it. It felt like the focus was on the grieving process and not... I don't know.
And I want to know in what translation of the Bible the final verse of Psalm 23 is written "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for the rest of my life." That's WRONG. And it was jarring in its wrongness. I also dislike "the darkest valley" versus "the valley of the shadow of death". I wonder if someone picked that translation because they were reluctant to use the word Death; but it's a funeral. Death is why we were there. People die. We all will die. Call death what it is. It's an inevitable part of life.
So... not much on death not being the end, but not much on death itself either. I guess that means the focus was mainly on the grieving process and us. As much as I appreciate Victorian mourning rituals (hey, they had no problem acknowledging death), sentiment is not something with which I'm comfortable. To focus on grief alone (the acknowledgment of, expression of, the working through, etc) is not comforting, and that was basically what I got out of it. That, and that there is a translation of the Bible out there which is in need of correction.
We're going to cut our surprise lilies tomorrow and go back to the cemetery, and I think I will print out 1 Thessalonians 4 and take it with me.
I find myself using his name comfortably now - for a couple months at least, he was "the baby" when I talked to anyone outside our family, and I actually didn't talk about him much, because some people hadn't known I was pregnant, and others didn't know I'd miscarried, I didn't want to upset people by drawing attention to it, and of course no one knew the name, since we picked it after the miscarriage, so I didn't use it. Then Kittyboy and I passed by the Right To Life Center downtown and I showed him the one-month-size baby in the window and said, "That's how big Alexis Gabriel was when he died," and so Kittyboy's been talking about him since ("Ayexis Gabwiew was sooo yittle! And his body didn't work wight!"). So we talk about him now. Kittyboy's happy to be taking flowers "for Ayexis" tomorrow. Memory eternal!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The weekend that Toy Story 3 came out, we went to see it - Kittyboy had been requesting it since he first saw the Toy Story logo with the number 3. I guess the new "Karate Kid" movie came out the same weekend, because Premier Martial Arts had a table set up at the theater, signing kids up for karate classes. They had a wheel to spin for a free week, free month, etc of classes. I was just looking at their literature and one of the older students at the table asked if I'd want to spin the wheel. I explained the boy in question isn't yet four (there's a place in town that starts at age 4), and he said, "Oh, we have a 3-4 class!" Spun and got him two free classes. The first Saturday, I was working, but this weekend I got to see it. I really, really tried not to jump up and tell him what to do, which is really hard when your kid is the only one not standing - only one not sitting - only one turning around slowly and looking spaced out... But they did eventually get him involved, it just took longer. A class of 22 students under the age of 5 is organized chaos, even with three senseis. It was so funny to watch - it was all PT and OT stuff - gross motor, coordination, balance, sensory integration! They had them going from standing to down on the mat and back up, snapping to attention when the sensei clapped, ducking under a moving padded bar, high-fiveing a moving paddle from the top of a stack of cushions (so you have to balance and aim at the same time), and walking on foam balance beams. Maybe half an hour long. And at the beginning and end, they bowed to their parents and then to the senseis, so that was cool. Kittyboy couldn't stay on the balance beams for anything, and so the sensei let him walk it holding his finger - SO CUTE. He did pretty well at the climb-the-cushions, smack-the-paddle thing, and the running-under-the-bar thing. I was kind of on the fence as to whether he was just not ready yet, because watching him move and the others move, he LOOKS way younger, but Brian said it'd be good for him, and he WILL catch up. And they're really cool and understanding that he's not quite up with the other kids just yet, and they just keep giving him extra instruction and more time to do things. Very positive, encouraging, "Well hey, let's try this again!" We signed him up for the next three months!
Belts in the 3-4 class advance by participation. Each week you get another red stripe of tape on your belt and when you have eight stripes, you move up to a belt with a colored stripe (yellow, orange, etc). There were four or five kids who advanced to the next belt at the end of the class today.
His gi, by the way, is size 000. The smallest size they make. Pant legs and sleeves cuffed. He's sooo cuuuute.....
We are practicing things at home - things like bowing, and monkey-see, monkey-do standing and sitting and whatnot, and the clapping they use to get all the students' attention.
Kittyboy's really excited, too! After the first class, he was talking about doing "kawate" and "I do kawate again? Okay!"