It seems like several people I know have lost grandparents recently and have had the difficult task of talking to small children about death and loss. Luckily for us, our conversations around loss have only centered on the recent death of our family cat. It’s been surprising to me how much my daughter has been talking about death since we lost Jasper. As the days have gone by and I’ve come to terms with the decision I had to make, our conversations around death have become more and more interesting. She speaks in a very matter of fact way and doesn’t seem overly worried or concerned about the things she’s saying. Some of the stuff she says makes me sad and some of it just makes me crack up (after she goes to bed of course). It’s too bad adults can’t remember what it’s like to be three years old and that my daughter will never remember some of the things she’s been saying. Also, I’m not sure if these things are as funny when I write them down as they were when she said them, so if this blog post seems morbid and weird, I’m really sorry.
(Spoken to herself while sitting at the dinner table, overheard by my husband)
M: Dad is doing the dishes, Mom is in the bathroom, sister is throwing food on the floor, Izzie (the dog) is waiting to clean up the food and Jasper is dead.
(Pointing at growth chart on the wall)
M: I used to be this tall, now I’m this tall, then I’ll be this tall, and this tall, and this tall, and then I’ll die.
Me: Your sister had diarrhea because she ate too many blueberries.
M: So she’ll probably die.
(I think she said this because diarrhea starts with the word “die.”)
(After she picked out socks with a black cat on them for me for my birthday)
M: Now you don’t have to be sad about Jasper anymore because she’s on your socks. You can just look at your socks.
M: I have blue eyes and you have brown eyes.
Me: And why is that?
M: Because we’re all a little different.
M: But we all have eyes.
Me: Yes, most people do.
M: And we all die.
Death is a hard part of life, especially for those left behind. I’m so thankful that I haven’t had to deal with losing a close friend or relative, but it’s been surprising how much talk of death the loss of our cat has brought into our home. Even though she was a part of our family, I’m glad that all of this talk is just about the cat. I can’t imagine I’d find her comments as interesting and amusing otherwise.
*I am wishing for strength and courage for those parents I know out there who are dealing with more significant loss in their children’s lives. I hope they can find some comfort in the memories of their loved ones and in their children’s innocence.