Monday, September 16, 2013

Some Things are Hard to Explain

Yesterday, while driving by a cemetery, Miss B asked about the flowers and headstones. She wanted to know about that place. She thought it looked pretty. I usually have a sort of "open" policy when it comes to telling her stuff. I try to be as honest as possible, while keeping things on a level her four year old brain can comprehend.  This one gave me pause.

This past spring, right before Easter, a friend of mine and her five year old son died tragically in a house fire. While we didn't take Miss B to the viewing or funeral, I couldn't hide my sadness in those days. I wasn't sure what to explain to her, but I knew she would be asking about her friend, when she would see him and play with him. Explaining death to someone so young is difficult. They don't really understand. 

Ever since then, Miss be has sort of had this - I don't know if fascination is the right word - but she frequently asks if people are dead or are going to die. I'll say "don't let your brother get that, he might choke on it" and sometimes she responds with, "and then he'll die?"  

After a few minutes, I decided to stick with my honest is best policy and I explained to her what that place was. She was very quite for a long time and didn't say anything else about it. It's times like these I really wish I could hear her inner dialogue and know what she is thinking.

If there was ever a need for an instruction manual on parenting, I think it would be for this.


  1. Very true, Amy. Tough subject indeed, especially when they since your sadness. My kids are three and when they ask about a cemetery when driving past I tell them it's a park. What the? And what am I going to do as they get older and ask about the bigger stuff? If you find such a how-to manual can you send it my way, please? I'll pay for the postage.

  2. What a difficult subject! I'm sorry that you and your family had to go through dealing with such a tragic loss. I think being honest is a great approach, but it would sure be nice to know what our kids are thinking, huh?

  3. Every so often I get one of those questions. I'm not sure that I ever answer them right, but I sure try. Especially since I have birthed two children who have to hear it the hard way about things. "If you don't stop running with that sucker in you're mouth you could fall down and it would go through the back of your head and you might die." That's a normal thing to be said in our happy little house. This would of course be followed by by all kinds of sciency explanations that I'm not qualified to comment upon...

  4. Those oh-so-difficult questions! I'm a mother and grandmother and I still wish I had that same manual!

  5. I wish I had it too. We're getting all the questions at the moment, everything from birth through marriage to death. I had a long conversation night before last about who can and can't marry who. No you can't marry your mum, or your brother. Yes, men and men, and ladies and ladies have weddings it's called civil partnership. Being unmarried is called divorce... Isn't 5 a bit young to want to know all this???