Yesterday and today have kind of run together.
Yesterday morning was den meeting. I was gratified that four of my Wolves showed up. Summer schedules are so iffy, I never know who is going to show. That's why I don't do rank requirements during the summer anymore. I'll just end up redoing rank requirements when school starts anyway. We talked about Leave No Trace principles and what you should do to prepare for hikes. We talked about poisonous plants and dangerous animals. We talked about the proper clothes to wear and the buddy system. The boys drew posters to show Leave No Trace rules. We dumped out one of my husband's backpacks to see what was in it and what was missing from it (not much it turns out) as far as hiking essentials were concerned.
One of the boys that didn't show is going to be moving up to the Bear den in our pack soon. After the den meeting I went to his house, along with everyone else that didn't show, to give his folks a permission slip to sign for our hike next week. This particular boy and his family weren't home and so I taped a note on the door.
Later that night, this boy's dad came by my house to ask for more details about our hike and other stuff. The dad said, "I really think he should go next week." I appreciate any parent that gives their Cubs a nudge to come to den meetings more often.
After he left, my husband went to the store for a little mini-date treat. While in the store, my husband got a call from the Elder's Quorum president (that's the organization for men who hold the office of Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood in our church) that help was needed at the church to get ready for a funeral the next day. So we had our little treat and we both went to the church to set up chairs in the overflow to the chapel, and also to set up tables and chairs in the cultural hall. In our church, the Relief Society usually prepares a lunch for the family members of the deceased the day of the funeral. While setting up tables and chairs, I learned who the funeral preparations were for and I was shocked to learn that the person who had died was the wife of the man who came by house that day - the mother of one of my Cub Scouts. I felt like such a heel that the man had come to my house and I hadn't known he was dealing with such a loss.
My husband had to go home to get to sleep so he could go to work the next morning. I stayed to help the Relief Society president and a couple of others to put out table cloths, napkins, utensils and so on. I checked the restrooms to make sure they were okay and that paper products were stocked. All the while I was thinking of this Cub Scout and what he must be going through.
His mom's death was the result of an recreational accident, as opposed to the automobile kind - totally unexpected. She was healthy, young, vibrant - and you would never suspect that her time had been limited. Just a week ago I had called her to remind her about our pack meeting. She had sounded cheerful and happy. Their summer activities prevented them from coming but I knew that was bound to happen at some point, no big deal. The dad's comment to me that day, "I think he should go next week," suddenly took on its true meaning.
This morning was sunny but with a cool breeze. I didn't really want to get too dirty and sweaty because the funeral was set for lunchtime. My kids and I did some light garden chores and then I got cleaned up for the funeral.
The church is a short walk from my house. I didn't want to drive because (1) I figured there would be too many cars in the parking lot as it was, (2) I am none too graceful trying to get myself into a Jeep while wearing a dress. The Jeep has a lift kit and no steps on the side to assist ingress/egress. So I walked to the church.
The service was simple with heartfelt talks by family and friends. I helped the Relief Society ladies afterward, making sure water pitchers stayed filled and setting up extra tables and chairs when it got too crowded, making several trips to the dumpster with bags filled with paper plates and plastic cups and utensils. My Cub Scout even helped me push one of the partition curtains back to make more room in the overflow for tables. He was cheerful and excited about the prospect of moving up to the Bear den. I had to smile at his resilience. I know this may just have been a good day for him with all this aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas around. He may have some bad days later on. It was still good to see his smile. He's going to be okay.
I really hope he makes it to our hike next week - I want to send him off like I send off all of my Wolf graduates - with excitement for the next step ahead and with all the beads he has earned hanging around his neck. I don't want to single him out or anything - just the same stuff we do with all the guys - just the normal things. I'm not trying to ignore the fact that his mom won't be around anymore, but I want him to feel like life will continue and it's okay to do that - to continue.
In our church, we believe that Jesus Christ's death and resurrection saved all of us from death. We all have to go through it, but we will live again. We will see our loved ones again, whether it be that we die and our spirits will convene in the spirit world, or Christ will come again and those who have died will be resurrected and we will meet again in the flesh. It's a long separation to be sure, but not an everlasting one. It's something to hope for, to look forward to. This Cub Scout does not attend our church but I sure hope he can feel that he will see his mom again someday. Others may scoff at such an idea, claim that once you're dead, you're dead and that's the end of all existence. I don't believe that. I can't believe that. Can't.
Won't. Because to think that this world is all there is reduces our lives to nothing more than fleeting series of experiences that mean nothing. I refuse to believe our lives mean nothing, that this kid's mom is now nothing, that joy is nothing, that grief is nothing, that nothing means anything. The truth is, all of our experiences are worth something, the good and the bad. We can all be good for something and something good can come out of almost everything.