“I Will Not Cry” by Reva Lachica Moore

We (my husband JR, my 6-year-old granddaughter Kaitlyn and I) were in the car waiting for the traffic light to change when we noticed 3 policemen on motorcycles a block away. A few seconds later, one of the policemen parked his motorcycle right under the traffic light and raised his hand. The light turned green but we couldn’t go. That’s when we realized it was a funeral procession.

“What’s a funeral?” Kaitlyn asked.

As I was trying to explain, a thought suddenly came to me. I think it’s time for our granddaughter to see her Grandpa Edwin’s grave. The graveyard was only two blocks away and so I whispered to JR, “Let’s take her to the cemetery. It’s time for her to see her Pawpaw Edwin’s grave.”

The only grandpa that Kaitlyn knows is Pawpaw JR Moore. Her paternal grandfather (Edwin Wallace) passed away 19 years ago when her daddy was 20 years old.

Pawpaw JR was there when Baby Kaitlyn, only an hour-old, was rolled out of the delivery room. That was the start of a “Pawpaw and granddaughter” bond that is so loving and close.

Pawpaw JR buys all her toys, art supplies, puzzles, books, bubblegum, silly putty, a princess dresser/mirror and anything a little girl could ever want. Pawpaw JR is there for all her dance and piano recitals, her birthdays, her school activities. Pawpaw puts band aids on her bruises, wipes her tears and laughs at her silly jokes.

She was 4 when she first noticed the picture of a little boy sitting on his daddy’s lap on top of the end table.

“Is this little boy my Daddy?” she asked.

“Yes, that’s your Daddy when he was 2.”

“But who is this man? He does not look like Pawpaw.”

And so I told her about her Grandpa Edwin. But how do you explain death to someone so young? She had more questions than what I could tell her: “Why did he die?” “What was wrong with him?” “Will he live again?” “Does he know my name is Kaitlyn?” “Will he come back to see me?”

For a long time, we had avoided talking about her Grandpa Edwin, for she is having so much fun with her Pawpaw JR. The two are inseparable when they are together. Besides, we didn’t think she would understand, being so young, and so we waited for the right time. I told my son, “We will have to tell her someday about your Daddy.” We both agreed that when that time would come, we will know it’s time for her to know.

At age 4, she started to understand why animals, birds and insects die. She was fascinated but (felt so badly) about Jesus dying on the cross. She didn’t understand why bad people put Jesus on the cross to die. But I told her that Jesus arose from the grave 3 days after He was buried and is alive in heaven. And that someday, we will live with Jesus. Every time she sees something die, it could be an insect or an octopus, she would ask, “Will it live again?” My usual answer is, “Yes, in heaven!”

At the graveyard, I asked JR to stay in the car with Kaitlyn while I went ahead of them. After a few minutes, I motioned them to come. Holding hands, Pawpaw and granddaughter walked to the grave.

“Where is it? Where is it?” she asked.

“Over there! Let’s go there.” Pawpaw JR pointed to where I stood.

“I will not cry. I will not cry,” Kaitlyn kept saying.

She read his Grandpa Edwin’s name and the dates on the headstone. We were so thankful that she took it well.

After we got back to the car, Kaitlyn had many questions: “Is Pawpaw Edwin down there? What is he wearing? Does he have shoes? When will I see him?” I told her that when Jesus comes, Pawpaw Edwin’s angel will wake him up and he will look up to the sky and see Jesus with all His angels and he will go with Jesus and we will see him in heaven someday. Her eyes got big as she listened to me.

Later, on our way back to her house, she said, “I will tell Daddy that I went to see Pawpaw Edwin’s grave. And when I tell him, I will not cry because I will see Pawpaw Edwin in heaven. I will have 3 grandpas in heaven! Pawpaw, Pawpaw Edwin and my other Grandpa, my Mommy’s Daddy.”

Revelations 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”