The last time I bought a suit for Jake was when DJ passed away, almost 5 years ago. This time I didn't take Jake with me shopping, I made the best guesses I could on his size and went from there. I didn't want Jake to have that connection with this suit.
5 years ago while buying the suit for DJ's funeral at the department store Jake broke down. He said all he wanted for his birthday (only 11 days after DJ's funeral) was "DJ to come back". He didn't want any toys, only his brother. Needless to say it was a very hard day at the mall. I didn't want Jake to even think about that day 5 years ago if I could help it.
It's funny though because as much as you think you are shielding your kids from remembrances, associations, and pain they are already a few steps ahead of you in the thought process--- Jake had already thought about the funeral, but especially the viewing.
I asked Jake if he wanted to go to the viewing, I had already decided that I didn't want him to go since DJ's had been at the same exact funeral home and even the same room but I did want him to have the chance to discuss it. He immediately said he didn't want to go, his words were "I have had enough sorrys" I asked him if he was talking about sorrys for Grandpa or DJ and he said DJ. Wow, what an exact statement from a 13 year old, I was impressed. It was very precise and very true. I learned a little bit about Jake that day--
He knew about death in a way that most 13 years olds don't (and I wish he didn't)
He knew about all the things people say over and over again.
He knew that he was tired of hearing "I'm sorry"
He knew that he didn't want to hear "I'm sorry" if he could help it.
I learned he is stronger and smarter about grief than most adults.
I learned that he is able to make his own decisions based on experience about death.
He has grown up with grief as a part of his life and has learned how to manage it.
He is going to be an amazing adult-he will be able to relate to people with tragedy and grief-
I wish Jake had been isolated from all of that wisdom and knowledge (so wise for being so young) but he hasn't. He is a product of a life that was shaken up and tossed about but he will be fine. He is often stronger than I think and obviously much smarter. I bought him a suit for a funeral but I think he will be happy to wear it anytime. He has changed and gotten stronger in five years and I am amazed at who he is and who he is becoming.