We recently had a death in the family. It was a family member that my son had a relationship with.
To begin, when I got ‘the call’ that this family member had passed away, I stayed calm, and immediately directed myself to stay at home with my son while the rest of the family rushed to support G, the wife of the person who died. I also made the decision to not tell my son about the death on that day in the event that his father or other members of the family came to our house with reactions. I saw that it was my ‘job’ to prevent my son from connecting death to reactions. When his father came home that night, we quietly and calmly shared and discussed any points, concerns, events, and experiences that had happened in the home of the dead person. As far as my son was concerned, this day was like any other day in his world.
I decided that it was best if I were to stay home and support my son through the week so I called my boss who gave me several days off.
The day after the death, I turned off all the media in our home and asked my son to come sit with me because we had something to discuss. He came up and sat next to me on the couch and breathed to make sure that I was clear before I began speaking. I began by referring to our dog, Jake, that we had ‘put down’ last year and said, “So, last year Jake died. And when he died, he died he was gone.” My son said, “Yes,” and I continued, “Like Jake, P has died. And he is gone.”
“P is dead?”
“Yes, he is dead.”
My son let out a short cry – it was a cry that was familiar to both of us as it’s more of a sniffling-whine that he attempts to use to get something that he wants. And as he let out this ‘cry’, he said, “BUT I WILL MISS HIM.” When he expressed this with the ‘cry’, I saw my son hear himself, he sniffed once, and he stopped as he was aware that this cry was something that we’ve discussed and proven to be ‘fake’. From here, my son began talking in his ‘normal’ tone and we discussed his concerns and answered his questions. When the discussion ended, I told my son that I had taken the week off from work and that I would be here for him -all week- to support him. He was cool with this.
We continued to stay home together while the family gathered each night. I did not see it as best for him to connect ‘G falling apart’ with death. We did not participate until the funeral.
At the funeral, my son did fine. He supported his family member by going up to hug her as she was bent over and crying at the casket. And that is all. It was done. When we got in our vehicle and left the cemetery, he reacted in anger that he did not get to see ‘P’s dead body’. His father and I explained that it was ‘just a dead body’, however, this child really wanted to make that connection so we made an agreement that we would investigate what dead bodies looked like on-line – he was cool with this.
Last night, my son was watching a movie where a dog had died and the cast of characters worked together to bring the dog ‘back to life’. Seeing this created Hope within him and he became excited and exclaimed, “Wait! I can bring Jake back! And P!” I told him that in real life, this does not happen – once we are die, we are gone, and we cannot come back. He said, “Yeah … I know.” He was disappointed – even though, what he has seen and learned from life that beings do not come back when we die. He wanted to believe – and I understand this because I live this myself – I hope and I believe because I do not want to experience my fear of loss, my fear of the future, and my fear of death. It is easier to ignore our disappointment over-and-over-and-over again rather than face our fears and figure out where these fears come from – and so we fall into the trap of Hope, Belief, and misplaced Trust.
And the cycle continues …
Cycles are easy. But cycles, patterns, or anything we do over and over and over and over again, get us no where.
And running in the same pattern day-in and day-out – how is that we can call this ‘Living’?
Okay, so we may be ‘fine’ and ‘comfortable’ with our patterns – I mean, hey, they’re predictable – don’t worry NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE. PHEW. And we may see our fear of change and we may even be aware of what created it but do we change? No man, it’s comfortable.
So, my question is: Is this really what we want for our kids? Suggest for parents and future parents to be self-honest about this point because if we ‘just aren’t interested’ or are ‘just not into’ bettering ourselves or breaking out of these patterns, then our kids don’t have a chance. One can start by investigating ‘Hope’ and watch how our children are being ‘fed’ with it by the media, other parents, grandparents, our friends, etc. Is a life of disappointment what we want for our kids?
So, suggest to understand where our hope is coming from and begin the process of removal of hope, faith, beliefs, and misplaced trust. A cool starting point is by taking the DIPLite course. It’s free and you’ll have a buddy to support you through your process of educating yourself and thus have the tools to teach the children what opportunities are available to us in this Life.