Aloha Friday: Daddy, I’m Scared Of Dying
On Tuesday night, I tucked the boys in as I always do, got my computer and sat down beside JSL’s bed. As I always do. As they always do, my boys decided it wasn’t *quite* time to go to sleep. Instead, they were going to trot out delay tactics. NHL said his stomach hurt and I told him it was probably gas and to go to sleep. Then he said something that made me realize that he wasn’t delaying.
“Daddy? I’m scared. I’m scared of dying.”
To be honest, I think this fear has been in the back of his mind for some time now. Ever since B’s grandfather passed away nearly four years ago. NHL was very close with B’s grandfather. They loved spending time together eating ice cream or Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins.
What NHL didn’t understand was that his great-grandfather wasn’t well. He had Parkinson’s disease and was slowly but surely succumbing to the illness. When I first met B, her grandfather walked with the aid of a walker with only occasional trouble. Eventually, he couldn’t reliably stand on his own for too long. He would fall over and I would need to rush to B’s grandparents’ apartment to help lift him. (Lifting a 200 pound man who can’t help you lift himself isn’t easy!)
Eventually, B’s grandfather was moved to a nursing home. Of course, Parkinson’s is an unforgiving disease and it kept progressing. Eventually, his mind went as well. He would be perfectly lucid one moment and talking to me as if it were decades in the past another.
When we last saw B’s grandfather, NHL refused to go near him. We think he could sense something was wrong. We were there to say our goodbyes.
In the years since his great-grandfather’s passing, NHL has occasionally displayed an interest in death. He would talk about death in ways that made adults uncomfortable. Completely innocently on his part, of course, but still uncomfortable.
Fast forwarding back to Tuesday night, I hugged NHL and told him that he didn’t have to worry. He mentioned that everyone dies and I agreed but added that he wouldn’t die for a long, long time. He mentioned being scared about being buried and eaten by ants. I told him that his soul, the part of him that makes him him, would go to heaven. This soothed him enough for him to go to sleep. Still, I could sense the impending bad dreams and repeated awakenings the night would bring.
My Aloha Friday question for today is: Have you spoken with your child about death? If so, what did you say to them?
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.
I don’t have kids yet but I think it is healthy to talk about, especially if someone close to them has died, they need to understand this on a kid level.
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Actually yes, a lot. We lost their brother, one of my twin boys, so death has been a strong presence in our household. They know all about it. We tell them the truth. We answer their questions to the best of our abilities without anything ‘scary,’ in there. Sometimes it’s hard. We had our baby cremated, and I didn’t like explaining that, for instance, but I did, and they dropped it. You just have to be honest.
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We have had that discussion with Princess Nagger, especially when her grandfather passed away just this past October. I’m with SmellyAnn – honesty is the best policy. They understand more (and better) than we think. Sounds like you handled that little scenario like a pro! 🙂
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I do not remember speaking to my daughter about death. she is a teen now. The first death she ever had to deal with was a couple years ago when my Mother died. It was not a sudden death so I do not think she really thought about death of herself. Sometime back we had a good friend die of cancer, however she did go to the funeral. I still can not remember her speaking of death then either. However her walk with the Lord is closer and I Believe she know we really do not die, Just move on to a heavenly home, At least must of us hope and some just know they do. I believe my Mom is in Heaven now, and some day I will see her again.
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Being a military spouse with children this is a conversation that happens very early on in the child’s life and is unavoidable.
They don’t understand the concept of war, but when our children were young we told them Daddy and his friends were going to fight the bad guys or monsters, (this is something they understood as they were going to go and protect us). So when I started having to go to funerals I had to explain. My sons first funeral came about a week after his dog was hit and killed.
As a result of these events the night after the funeral he asked me, “Is my daddy going to die?” Of course I immediately said, “No your Daddy will come home safely to us.” My son responded, “Mommy you don’t know that Max (his dog) died and he was in America.” “Mr. J, died and he was with Daddy.” So after long thought I told him, “Baby you’re right I don’t know, but what I do know is that we can pray to keep our friends and family safe for as long as possible. Death is something that happens when God decides a person’s work on Earth is done.” We hugged, prayed, and then talked until he was to tired to keep his eyes open.
It is hard when our little ones come to these harsh realizations. I think you handled it well. Please feel free to come by and answer my Aloha Friday Question.
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Kind of, my step father passed away and I had my son with me at his funeral. He’s only 2, so I tried to make it make sense, but I don’t think he understood or cared…
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Our kids are older and yes, we have spoken to them about death. We just lost my dad this past spring so that was really their first experience with loss. They were super close to their grandfather so it was very difficult.
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My grandmother just lost her battle with parkinsons in November. It is a terrible disease. My kids and I were very close to grandma, we lived with her off and on for many years. Kaitlynn has made grandma into her imaginary friend. She talks to her all the time and tells me about their conversations. Nicholas won’t really talk about it. He says he is fine, I know he is hurting but for some reason he thinks that he has to be strong for me, has to be the ‘man’ in the family. I have told him over and over that this isn’t true.
I told the kids she isn’t hurting anymore. She was in so much pain the last couple weeks, she fell and broke her neck and had surgery to repair it. I told them she understands that they are upset and that it is ok to cry and ask questions, it’s ok to be mad or whatever else they might be feeling.
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