Stoic. Heartless. Cold blooded. Emotionless. Indifferent. Uncaring. Reserved. Nonchalant. Apathetic. Matter of fact. Bitch. All names I’ve been called in the past that make complete sense to me now.
I received the call today. My grandma passed away a couple of hours ago. And I really, unfortunately don’t feel much towards the situation. And that in itself didn’t bother me, because I know myself. I knew I would have little to no reaction on her passing. Like I mentioned before, it’s life we’re living, and with that comes death. What bothered me though, was how Little E responded to the news.
I explained it as sensitively as I could, while still not mincing the truth. Grandma was very sick, and in a lot of pain, and her body was no longer strong enough to fight anymore so she has now passed away and has died. That was enough to make little E tear up on the spot.
I guess I wasn’t expecting his reaction only because I wasn’t at all bothered by her death, but I’m learning that not everyone is like me. I’ve spent years learning how to control my emotional response to get it to where it is today, I can’t expect the same from a 6 year old. So it was a learning experience for me as a mom. How can I teach Little E to deal with his emotions? And quite honestly… put on the spot like that was challenging.
I tried discussing it with him at first but I could just tell that he wasn’t listening, so I asked him if he wanted me to stop talking for a bit and just let him think it through a little, and he nodded yes. But as I let him sit for maybe 2 minutes, when I would look over I would see him tear up every so often and I knew this solution was not the right one, since he wasn’t getting any better.
I offered first off to give him a hug, which he didn’t want. So I asked him what did he want to do? Did he want to play basketball in his room with me? Thinking that could get some of the emotion/energy out. Nope he didn’t want to. Did he want to break something (willing to offer up a plate or something, since they’re all replaceable) Nope. Did he want to color a picture and rip it up into a million pieces? Nope. Did he want to turn up the music really loud and dance super silly in the living room? Yep, we had a winner.
So the 3 of us walked to the living room where Little E turned on the music and then just sat on the couch. Z and I started dancing and while I tried to encourage Little E to join us twice, I knew he would only do it when he was ready. After a song or two he got up and grabbed a drawing board out of the toy bin and started just scribbling the whole thing black and wiping it off repeatedly. Then after about 10 minutes, he wrote out “mom can you guess if I’m happy / sad now” and handed me the board asking me to circle one.
I circled sad, and he nodded his head. I told him it’s completely ok to be sad because someone close to you has died. You shouldn’t be embarrassed because your sad. And it’s ok if these feelings last a little while. That’s ok. Just understand that you will not be sad forever. You are still alive. And even though everyone will die one day, you are still alive today. So be sad for now, because that’s ok. Cry for tonight because your great grandma died. But then remember one day it’s time to be happy again. Because you are still alive.
And he was good with that. It told him his feelings were valid. Because feeling pain is just as important as feeling joy. If you don’t feel your lows, your highs aren’t as impressive. So I felt I had an opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson about that tonight. But that conversation of course led way to everything else that the death conversation brings.
He learned about graveyards, funerals, cremation, ashes, Arizona, Phoenix Coyotes, cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, organ donation, organs in general, what the kidney does, who will take care of them if I have to go and take care of my mom when she’s dying…. it was a long and winding conversation (as they all are when a 3&6 year old are asking the questions). Part of which lead me to say that when we die our soul/spirit is no longer in the body, and we are just skin and bone remaining. To which Little E said “so God can take grandma’s soul/spirit and put it into a new little baby!” which caught me off guard.
I recently been trying to tell my kids about as many different religions as possible so that when they have gathered as much information as they think is enough, they can make their informed decision about how they live their life regarding spirituality. I don’t want them to be ignorant, but I also don’t want them believing something just because someone said it was the best for them. It’s a fine line.
For myself, I’m not 100% sure what I believe about the afterlife. Mainly because I’ve never been dead before and so I can’t know for sure what happens when you die. I’d like to think at this point in time there’s a heaven because it sounds pretty enjoyable, better than a black nothingness or the hell option. But I don’t think I believe in reincarnation. Therefore, when Little E made his comment, I had to check myself to make sure what I said didn’t influence his choices and growth. So I just nodded at him and said yeah maybe, and then maybe you might see a baby and it could be grandmas spirit. Or maybe in a bird or a flower. You might see grandma anywhere, then you don’t have to be sad about not seeing her until you die (something that had bothered him). Little E thought through everything we had discussed and seemed to be much better about it all.
As for myself? I’m still surprised it affected him this much, but that’s just me. The cold-hearted bitch.
Who still thinks heaven is perhaps a possibility.
-Bone Thugs-N-Harmony/Tha Crossroads-