Earlier this week we received some unfortunate news-- my step-siblings' mother passed away unexpectedly. My heart breaks for them, I cannot imagine their pain. Zach was also pretty taken by the news, as he'd known her since he was 6 years old (he and my step-sister went to school together as kids).
After lots of talking back and forth, comparing flights, etc, we decided that Zach and Donovan would fly to Texas for the funeral and to show their support. I wanted to go, too, but between ticket prices and Zach's concern about me flying at 31 weeks pregnant we figured I might as well stay here. So now I'm spending my morning prepping everything for their flight, which will be the first time for Zach to fly alone with D. Luckily D's getting old enough to be a bit more manageable on flights, and is also excited enough by the whole prospect of AIRPORTS! and AIRPLANES! that he's relatively entertained just by the sight of them (on our last trip, most of the down-time at any airport was spent sitting at a gate by a big window, watching the airplanes and the luggage carts go by). And, he's also pretty dang excited to get to see all the family again. We were talking about it this morning after he woke up, and he kept going on and on about seeing his grandparents, his cousin, even the pets, lol. Then he kept saying he wanted to leave for the airport, and I had to explain that it wasn't time yet.
So, while the reason for the visit sucks, it will be fun for him to spend a few days surrounded by everyone.
I've been trying to figure out how to prepare him for what will likely be a much more somber mood to this visit than all previous ones, though. We've flown back for a funeral before, my grandfather's last summer, but while that death was sad it was also much more foreseeable, one that we had been preparing for already, and D didn't see much of the grieving and sadness (he was also much younger, 18 months or so). I'm sure it will be different this time, and I want to prepare him somehow as I'm sure he'll see people be sad and upset.
There was one point the other day when I realized what had happened, and I just burst into tears. D came over and when he saw me, he just stopped and he looked so frightened. I'm sure few things are more alarming to a young child than seeing his parents upset. So I told him that everything was ok, but that his aunt's mommy was very sick and that was making me sad. This morning as he was eating breakfast I started telling him how his aunt and cousin might be kinda sad when he sees them, and he got visibly upset, and then said to me, "But they're gonna be ok." I didn't want to press it as he didn't seem to want to talk about it, but tried to just say that they may be sad and he might even see them cry, but that it's ok and they'll be happy again later. So we'll see what he does with that.
It must be so strange to be his age. To be old enough to pick up on so much of what happens around you, but still not understand so much of it, either. Sometimes I really wish I could get a peek into his little brain and see what he's thinking.