During the week after Lauren's death, our house was filled on a continual basis with her friends and ours, as we worked through our grief and shock together, and then we started our story sessions--our remembrances. We would find ourselves laughing, with tears streaming as we wiped them away. During this time frame there seemed to be an on-going communal planning process happening in our lounge room, as we listened to suggestions from her friends on how we could handle her funeral(s). We planned a formal mass observance at Holy Family, our local parish church, and then an additional service at the crematorium. There are so many details I could go into - but this prelude to this next story was as an introduction and perhaps an explanation regarding our views on how we handled her death.
While we all missed Lauren, and mourned her intensely, each in our own way, we also celebrated her, which was emphasized strongly during the wake after her funeral. That afternoon, many musicians from competing bands and groups in the local community all joined forces, shared equipment and amplifiers, and held a mini-rock festival on our large front lawn. There was food and drink, and music and stories. During all of this afternoon, Maddie, who was one week into her 7th year, was invited and encouraged to take part in the music by Lauren's friends and fellow musicians. She loved the drums the best!
A few weeks passed, and one morning I walked through the lounge room here at home, on my way to start breakfast, when I saw Madison sitting on the floor in front of the television. She was sitting on the skateboard she had shared with Lauren, with Big Ted (her favourite teddy bear on one side of her), and Lauren's box of ashes propped on the skateboard on the other side of her, with her arms around both companions.
I hesitated, then asked:
"Maddie, what are you doing?"
"Lauren and me are watching Rug Rats"
"Oh. OK. You look like you're having fun!"
"Yeah. Hey, Mum?"
"Could I take Lauren to Show and Tell today?"
"Maddie, I think Laurie would have loved that, but something tells me that maybe your teacher, or some of your classmates might not understand...so maybe we should just leave her here for now, OK?'
"Oh...OK. Mum, could I take our skateboard instead?"