By Jerry L. Bousard
July 29, 2018 – THE FUNERAL WAS OVER …the end of a very long day.
The cemetery service was the only thing we let our youngest daughter attend. People had begun to disperse, while others stood outside the tent, hanging on in disbelief. I was one of those standing around talking to family and friends.
It was a typical sweltering July day in the south. Clouds were gathering in the distance but promised no cooling rains. We were all dressed appropriately – which meant suits, ties, dresses – typical attire in respect to funerals. It had been a good service that morning, though somber in every respect as one would imagine. We were just about finished at the graveside service and ready to leave.
I looked over and saw my four-year old daughter sitting alone under the tent.
“What is she doing?” I thought.
I paused for a moment, then turned back to my conversation. Several feet away, I saw my wife engaged with other family members. It was her brother who passed away suddenly. After a few more minutes I looked again and she was still sitting there by herself. I excused myself and walked over.
“What’s going on?”
She didn’t turn toward me, but sat looking at the flower-covered casket in front of her, a distant look in her eyes. She has always been our thinker.
“Uncle David is dying?”
“Yes, he is already gone to heaven.”
I knelt beside her, my heart breaking for her. Her little mind was still far away. I motioned for my wife and she walked over.
“Is it because Uncle David played with me too much?”
“No sweetie” My wife took over telling her that he loved her and tried to explain. Her brother never married or had children and poured his love out on the nieces and nephews. They love playing games, sports, watching movies and just having fun with him. He was a favorite uncle. She the youngest niece.
Throughout the remainder of the day into the evening, she just kept asking why? Over and over. And so did we. It is never easy losing those we love.
The image of her sitting alone trying to understand death personified for me how we were all feeling that day. And it is a moment I will never forget.