Monday, October 01, 2007

Kids and Death

Yesterday Sophie was saying that she didn't want to live in our new house, she wanted to move back to our old one with Chicken. It makes perfect sense, we left a lot of stuff at the old place, why not Chicken too? I tried to explain. "Chicken isn't in our old house, he's dead." But I don't think she really gets it. She kept saying things like "when I die, I am going to live in our old house." I get a double heart ache from that.

Part of me is really glad that she isn't able to grasp it, try as she might. It is funny the way we adults fear things and assume our kids would fear them with the same intensity. Will gets scared in the dark sometimes, but I am not really sure what it is about the dark that scares him. When I was young (not even very young) the dark terrified me. What scared me was the thought that of being startled, surprised by something I couldn't see. I don't remember being afraid of what would happen next, after the surprise, it was the surprise itself. I imagine I could have come up with unpleasant things that might happen to me, but I don't remember dreading those things.

The kids tend to get scared by angry faces, aggressive animals and such. For example in the film Finding Nemo, they get scared when the Sharks Chase Marlin and Dory, and when the Barracuda menaces Marlin at the beginning of the film. I am bothered by the next scene when all of Nemo's little brothers and sisters (eggs) are gone, as well as his mother (presumably in the mouth of the barracuda). That scares me. I don't think it scares or bothers the kids much.

We've done our best to be honest, if not forthcoming, about Chicken. He frequently gets lumped in with GG (my grandmother) as someone we are not going to see anymore. They seem relatively accepting of those stories. I feel more uneasy talking about Joan (Carly's mom) who died when she was still a kid. I worry that might be too much. Maybe again this is just a fear of mine (that our kids could be left without one of us), and not something they would be troubled by. We haven't lied about it, but we don't bring it up much.


At 12:19 AM, Blogger amanda said...

Actually, when *I* die can I go live in the old house with Chicken? Sounds like a good afterlife to me.
Surely there must be a parenting book that talks about when kids "get" the idea of death.


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