Yesterday my family were involved in something very unusual, something you wouldn't necessarily have the chance to participate once in a lifetime.
Fifty years ago my mother had 6 children and was expecting her seventh, Caroline, when her youngest child, Frank, died. He was only 13 months old and after a week in hospital he died of meningitis. It was a very tough time for mum, and it was all the more awful that she and dad walked into Frank's room at the hospital to find him dead. The staff hadn't time to tell them in advance.
When the day of the funeral came mum had Frank in his white coffin on her knee in the front seat of the car but was so distressed she couldn't attend the burial. So dad took Frank and buried him while mum stayed in the car. He was buried in a relative's grave but Frank's name was never put on the gravestone. Yesterday, finally our family placed a grave marker in the form of a book on Frank's grave.
It was a bitter sweet moment. My other three brothers were there along with four of the girls, some grandchildren, some friends and of course mum. One of my brothers spoke about what had happened around the time of Frank's death. We all had the opportunity to add anything we felt was appropriate and then we placed flowers on the grave.
It struck me that I have five family members in Heaven now. My dad, my brother Frank and three babies that mum miscarried. It is a comfort for me to know this. Wouldn't it be great if all 16 of us meet there!
If only more people knew that children who were miscarried, aborted or who died young are all in Heaven, for sure. What a great comfort it would be for them! Maybe they would think longer and harder about Heaven and whether they will themselves end up there with God and their children or whether they will be cut off from them for eternity, in Hell...
Yesterday, a few tears were shed. Marie, the oldest child, remembers some of what happened. It's not something that was talked about much. Mum never mentioned Frank's death and as the family grew, we were brought up knowing not to talk about it, as it hurt mum so much. Somebody asked mum how she felt the day of Frank's funeral and she said she was distraught, part of her life was empty, but she had to go home to cook the dinner...
She still has a lock of it.