talking about death with children

Wait A Minute, Mr. Postman

December 1, 2011

(This post is underwritten by the American Cancer Society, official sponsor of birthdays.)

In the town where we used to live, on the street that we used to live on, there was a home for the elderly that Emilia and Jasper and I passed every day on our walks to and from preschool and kindergarten and ballet lessons and karate. Emilia called the ladies who lived there her ladies – “we need to wave to my ladies, Mommy!” -  and she waved and blew kisses to them when we saw them sitting in their enclosed verandah, and, when they came out outside for their daily constitutionals, she stopped for chats and hugs. They gave her extra candy at Halloween. When we moved, they gave Emilia and Jasper handwritten cards – ‘to a very special girl,’ ‘to a very special boy,’ scrawled in the unique hand of grannies everywhere – with twenty dollar bills in Canadian currency enclosed. Emilia has tucked these away, ‘so that we will have money when we move back to Canada,’ which is very sensible, given the current US economy.

One day last year, after passing her ladies and dispensing the requisite waves and kisses, Emilia asked me this: “why are some grandmas in wheelchairs?”

“Because they’re older, sweetie, and their bodies aren’t working so well anymore, and they can’t walk as much as they used to, so they need help. Wheelchairs help them get around.”

“Are they going to die? Because their bodies aren’t working?”

“Not just yet, I don’t think. But yes, when people get much older, they’re closer to dying.”

“And when their bodies aren’t working they’re closer to dying too?”

This is what you get when death is a semi-regular topic in your household. “Yes, sweetie, when their bodies aren’t working.”

“Is Tanner going to die?”

Ah. Ugh. Keep reading…

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Jesus Rode A Motorcycle, And He Liked It

November 10, 2009

I had my computer open last night, and Emilia saw the picture that I posted yesterday. “That’s the picture that I drew for Grandpa!” “I know, sweetie. I put it on my computer so that I could show it to other people. Is that okay?’ “Yeah. Do they know that I drew it?” “Yeah.” “Do [...]

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