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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Death and explaining it..

We have faced many challenges with dealing with our dear daughter.. sometimes because of my lack of patience.. and somewhere also because her personality is the type that needs a lot of nurturing and understanding.. 
I remember about a year ago when I was struggling to coming to terms with the kind of little person she seemed to be and I found this article on the net about Spirited children which really lifted my spirits :). Led to my buying a book Raising Your Spirited Child which really helped out with my patience levels and dealing with her special brand of spirit.

That was to set the context to some of my exchanges with my daughter. I try my best to set the atmosphere, prepare her for all that is going to happen, and now that she is reading so much and absorbing so much information from around here I never know what is going to come up next. This happened last evening/night:

D:    Amma, when I become a grandmother, what will you be?
Me:  Hmm.. I'll be a great grandmother darling! (Already having an idea where this is heading, and trying to deflect)
D:    But you'll be really old isn't it? Will you be dead/alive? (you get the idea - exactly what i was trying to avoid)
Me:  I don't know darling, think I might still be around. Maybe when you become a great grandmother I'll be a great-great grandmother!! But you never know, only God knows who'll be around how long! (She's too bright to fool outright, so thought I shouldn't completely ignore her concern)
D:    Seeming to accept this, just said mildly - I don't want you to die!
Me:  Foolishly thinking this is the end of it - Don't worry baby I'm not going anywhere for a long time.

Nothing more happened on the subject until it was time for her to sleep. After I tucked her in, I realized she's terribly upset and started crying - "I don't want you to die!" I tried to understand where the subject arose out of. A couple of weeks back, we went to visit a grand-uncle of my husband's in Chennai. He had just been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, but he was interacting normally when we met him. Unfortunately the cancer was of a galloping kind, and about a week after we met him, he passed away. I had mentioned this to D thinking she would wonder the next time we went to their house so I should tell her about it - Was I wrong in doing this - can't help but feel that way now :( !!

Took a long time to calm her down - the conversation went from I don't want you to die - I don't want appa to die - I'll be all alone - or S and I will be alone - and so on !! I tried humour (Let's tell God Amma has to be alive for ever!), Realism (You'll have your own family by then baby!), outright lying (I'll be alive for ever!), but nothing worked - she was sobbing for nearly an hour.. until finally she calmed down and I just sat by her side, till she fell asleep.

Wow Parenting just has so many more of these waiting to happen doesn't it?

If any of you have your own experience of dealing with the subject, please do share.


  1. Oops that's a toughie. No helpful pointers from me. Once Ads matter-of-factly asked me, "amma, when you idea, who will clean up your house and get rid of all your stuff"??? I mean....HELLLOOOO...some concern abt my passing away would have been nice ;-)

  2. Thanks Aparna, I'll try to work in that aspect the next time (though I'm hoping not to need to!).

    Looks like we were at each other's blogs at around the same time :).

  3. Aparna, Yeah..Shriya is 7 and still nto sure how she will react and how I will explain to her.Shriya had a pet fish when she was 4 and it died..Shreeny hurriedly hid the aquarium and we told Fish has gone to vet as its sick and replaced it by a similar one...We will not do it any more...But I think we are too protective...Still its always a hard topic to deal with....

  4. hey Sudha.. thanks for reading :). You can also subscribe through e-mail now if you're interested - I added a widget :). Basic reason of course was to force George to read the entries - now he cannot say he doesn't know when I add an entry ;).

    I can imagine dealing with the fish incident in pretty much the same way! And sometimes these children are so sensitive that it gets tough to find the patience and understanding to deal with it. Am trying my best!!