The past few days the girls have been asking me about death.
We’ve talked about it before but no one they are close to has died, which isn’t a surprise since they are 5 & 3. They understand that when your heart stops beating you die (hey they asked and that is all I could say on the spot!). They also know that the people you love are sad. From what they’ve seen in Disney movies it looks like you’re sleeping and they know you don’t come back.
They know my dad is dead and in heaven. They know good people go to heaven with Jesus. We haven’t talked about what happens to bad people. They know we can’t go visit heaven, they asked. That one almost broke my heart – they wanted me to see my dad.
Addie declared yesterday that she is afraid to die and she doesn’t want to. TC would like to know exactly when she is going to die. I was not at all prepared for this. I told them that death is a part of life and everyone who has ever been alive will someday die but we don’t have any idea when that will be and hopefully we won’t have to worry about it for a long long time.
I made sure not to make any promises. We have no idea what the future will bring. I can’t promise that I will be here tomorrow. As much as I wish I had the power to keep them both alive and well for the next century there is only so much I can do. I didn’t promise that we will all be alive for any certain amount of time. Big Hero Six seems to be the movie that has really brought this topic up, I think it’s an important conversation to have with young kids as life is unpredictable but it’s not easy.
I talked about it before but I have a very real fear that I will die young leaving my girls motherless. I wish I could push these thoughts away but they linger. It’s not that I live my life in fear, I will drive on the highway, visit big cities, swim in the ocean…but I fear that something will take me from them. Some days the fear is so great that it literally takes my breath away. Obviously I don’t share this fear with the girls, we talk about death when necessary (when they have questions, when they ask about someone who died and such) but we don’t go out of our way.
I didn’t think 20 years of my life was a short time when my dad died. I was lucky to have him for 20 years but now as I am getting older I am realizing that 20 years was nothing, hell he’s already been gone for 14 years. He didn’t know my husband, my kids, me as a grown up…I want way more than 20 years with my girls. I have big plans! I don’t know why I have these fears but I do. I sincerely hope that when I talk about death with the girls they don’t hear my fear. I hope I can be as honest with them as they need. I hope that they can go many more years without truly knowing the pain that comes with losing someone they love.
What do you say when your kids start asking questions about death that you just can’t answer?