I’m constantly surprised at how much A.J. remembers and digests what I tell him about my Father, his Granddaddy, who passed away three years ago. A.J.’s sense of loss was even more evident after we went to our first Atlanta Braves Game as a family.
On the way there, I told A.J. how much my Father loved baseball and how much he would love to attend this game with us.
A.J. seemed to let it sink in and looked out the car window at all the traffic headed downtown.
We parked and walked towards Turner Field. Before I knew what was happening, A.J. told one of the greeters that his Granddaddy died. The greeter was taken a back, then I explained that my Father died and we’d just spoken about his love for baseball on the way to the game.
We had fun at the game. A.J. bounced between my lap and Sr.’s, snacked and watched a lot of the action on the big screens since we couldn’t see a lot from our seats.
The people who sat around us all cheered on the Braves and mentioned how well behaved he was for his age. They’d decided to let their toddler stay home. We knew A.J. couldn’t make it through a whole game (just yet), so we got ready to leave right before the seventh inning.
On the way out, A.J. got his first time pass signed and even met another Braves fan and his dad.
About three months later, we were watching local news coverage in our living and the Braves were mentioned. It must have sparked his memory of what I said in the car on the way to the Braves game. It led A.J. to ask a series of questions and by the time he was done, we were both in tears.
“Granddaddy loved baseball, right?”
“When you go to heaven, you can’t come back, right?”
“You mean God can’t fix him?”
“Grandaddy won’t EVER be able to come to a Braves game with me?”
By his last question, I was sobbing and he was crawling into my lap. After a few deep breaths, we regained our composure and continued talking about missing Granddaddy and how it’s OK to feel sad or cry. What’s striking to me is how A.J. is grieving all the potential things he could have done with my Father. You may recall I shared some of the family photos we found in my Daddy’s wallet. Last year, A.J. and I appeared in a Wells Fargo YouTube campaign with African American bloggers telling Untold Stories where I discussed telling A.J. about the discrimination my Father faced in the Deep South.
Given A.J.’s deep emotions about his Grandaddy, I talked to my Mom and a few people I trust who suggested I find some children’s books for A.J. that tackle death in a way he can understand, without being afraid. They recommended:
I Miss You: A First Look at Death
I’ll keep you posted once we’ve read them and post a review.
Atlanta Braves Game
On a lighter note for those of you in Atlanta, the Braves season wraps at the end of September. We may make one more game and arrive closer to the end so A.J. can run the bases at Celebrate Sunday game. To stay up to date on the team, follow @Braves on Twitter and like the Braves Facebook page.
Great story! What a fantastic way to keep memories alive. Thank you for the book recommendations. I’ll be sure to add a few titles to our growing library.
What a beautiful post and such a touching memory. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing such a touching story. It’s for kids. My son just lost his pet cat and I love your book suggestions.
He looked like he had a blast! Good stuff.
It looks like he had a blast, what an experience.
Oh man, you are getting me choked up also. What a sweet little boy. Every time he watches the Braves, I hope it brings the memories you’ll share with him of your father.
Thank you for the book suggestions. This is a beautiful post.
I love the way you write…. AJ looks like he had a good time and his Mom must have gotten the love of baseball from her Dad as well. I allso adore the pics of AJ and his Daddy, who will be able to take him to other games and make memories in the future.
Your Father and mine must have been about the same age, as mine was also in the Korean War. Typically too my Dad’s wallet looked like your Dad’s with worn pictures and rubbed smooth with age. Theirs was a time of change in this world, with more change to come after
I look forward to your post about how AJ processes this, and I hope it eases you missing your Dad too. Sometimes shared tears are the best ones.
seems like they had a very good time
Loved the pics and the write-up !!
What a great family memory to make, I really enjoyed reading your post.
its great your son thinks of his grandfather despite how young he is. my daughter was 1 and my sons werent even born when my grandfather died..i need to teach them more about him.
Love keeps your memories vivid. What wonderful conversations and experiences. Living and growing.
My husband died 3 years ago so I can relate to things your son was saying. Poor kid.
I love taking my boys to games! Looks like you all had a great time! Loved your write and pis! Love making fun memories with my boys too!
looks like it he had amazing time.Amazing story.
Looks like it he had amazing time,great story,pleasure to read it.
This post almost brought me to tears. It makes me realize just how short life is and how much I miss my mom who passed away 5 years ago. You son is very lucky that he has a mom who will talk about death on his level.
Im certain I will have conversations like that with my daughter about her dads mom who passed when he was 18. My daughteb is only 2, but I better get prepared
Great post! Thank you for sharing!
I am sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. I have a five year old son and my father passed away before he was born. It’s sad to know that our children will never get to know their grandfathers, but I truly believe they are with us in spirit, watching over us. Very touching story/
Seems like he had a great time, also a great memory.
this is soooo sweet; love the story