What Comes Next?


Death. A hard one to deal with with kids of any age if you can’t offer them Faith.

My Sensitive Soul has real trouble processing this one. Every time he has a hormone blast out it trots again and I have no easy answers for him. Each time it rears its head I struggle. I just want to give him an answer and send him on his way happy. But I can’t.

It is so painful watching him tussle with this gigantic question; ‘I know in my head Mum that it’s all fine and that there’s nothing to worry about but my body doesn’t seem to understand.’ This time he is 12 and it is, for him, a much bigger issue. Without offering him Faith to deal with it I am acutely aware that he is probably having to find his own way of processing it at an earlier age than he would have done if we had been members of a religious community.

We have talked at length about death because he has always been a questioning child. I offered him heaven and he rejected it, I offered him Dumbledore’s ‘It’s just the next big adventure’ and he looked at me as if I was mad (‘Honestly Mum, he’s not REAL you know’…he is to me!) and I have told him that nobody has an answer for him but that we all have to live life to the full and enjoy every last minute of it. He is a boy filled with joy and he will pick himself up and carry on but there will be tears and sleepless nights until something else pops into his head and nudges this fear out of there.

In the end, I think we all get by by pretending this big question isn’t lurking over there in our peripheral vision, by distracting ourselves with the pleasures of life. When he comes home this evening I will feed him with his favourite foods because that is what I do whenever they are troubled or hurt. I will show him the beauty in our garden and hug him until he pushes me away. His siblings will distract him with arguments and games and we will all get on with living and loving.

I just wish there were straightforward answers to life’s big questions and that all the battling with them that I did as a child and a teen meant that my own children didn’t have to.

But, I guess, That’s Life.

25 Comments

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25 responses to “What Comes Next?

  1. I want to say something but not sure what. Such a poignant post and I love what you do for the when they’re a bit delicate, their favourite foods and hugs till they push you away. Such a lovely picture too

  2. JFB

    Oh this is such a poignant post Chris.
    It is so hard when we can’t answer their questions. As it happens, I have been in your son’s shoes – still am on down days if I’m honest!
    I guess it is part of being human & it’s one question for us to find the answer to by ourselves.

    • It’s just such a hard one for him. He is VERY sensitive and very lovely. I would love to give him a confident answer but he would see right through me so I just have to let him struggle and cuddle him a lot!

  3. like the rest i was moved by this post and just adore the photo. i struggle with these questions too, i am 33, he must be a very sensitive boy at 12 to be thinking so much about this already. what a great mum you are.
    Henri
    http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com

  4. Paula

    That photo is just beautiful Chris. I think boys are incredibly sensitive and it worries me too…at the weekend we all sat as a family watching Babe (of all things). There’s a point in it where a sheep is killed by wild dogs, and as it happened I glanced at my 3 and 5 yo girls nervously, what I didn’t immediately notice was my 8 yo son sobbing his heart out next to me.

    FWIW I think your answers are the best, it’s ok for them to know that it scares you too and that we’re all here making the most of every day.

    Pxx

    • Thanks love! I am a bit overcome now. Babe is a killer in this house…tissues for everyone! It really helped clarify my thoughts and approach for me to write it all down. Boy in question bounced in from school grinning from ear to ear and told me he had decided he didn’t want to be depressed! What a star!

  5. EmmaR

    This is beautiful and very moving. My daughter is 3 and currently takes an enviably pragmatic approach to death. When our fledgling salad leaves died she simply said “like Grandma”. Simple.

  6. Oh that was a well written and moving post. I have a son who’s a similar age.

    Am planning on using this prompt for my first contribution to Josies writing workshop if that’s o.k.

  7. Pingback: Cheeky Wipes shares thoughts on how to explain death to a 5 year old child. | Cheeky Baby Wipes Blog

  8. i know i’ve commented on this one already, but i just had to let you know that i have shown so many people this photograph as an example of how i want things to be with my sons in 10 years time. I love love love this post. Still my favorite out of the 100s i’ve read in the past few weeks.

    http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com

  9. Goodness, that’s a very interesting view. Mine was 3 when I had to tell him…..feel inspired to blog on that maybe, thanks.

    I have learnt from friends that my situation has prompted them to have such conversations, I am sure I will still have more conversations to come.

    • Thank you for your comment. I have no idea how I would deal with this if I was in your situation. Death, at the moment, is an unknown for my Sensitive Soul and his dealings are with his own fears for himself. He has, in the past, talked about me and his Dad dying but this time round it seems to be centred on self and fear of the unknown (typical, I think of adolescence). Parenthood is such a minefield and throws up so many difficult questions that sometimes we can be caught out halfway through our own thought processes.
      I will look forward to reading your blog on this subject. Thanks very much for visiting. x

  10. Pingback: Big Fat Milk Love «

    • I came to this post via Marketing to Milk and am happy to discover it’s just as good as she promised, as is the photo.

      I’m pregnant with my first child, due in 5 days, and only hope I can offer the same sensitivity you offer your son (and receiving a similar hug in return would be rather lovely too).

  11. Jen

    *big gusty sigh* we have the same problem here, off and on. Probably not to the degree you do because my fella is only 8 but it isn’t easy, is it? I remember when I was that age it took me a long time to understand that there wasn’t really any way to understand it, if you get me. I hope things have improved since you wrote this. Jen

  12. Oh Chris. I remember this photo as part of the “motherhood” prompt. Little did I know, that I came with such an awesome post. Yes. This is a tricky question indeed and one I am yet to tackle (so far Death has been “Snail Sleeping” – his words, not mine – and it was quite clear thet he knew it was a “special kind of sleeping”, which made me marvel at 2yrs olds, I digress).

    I will remember to offer comfort and love and the soul is confused.

    Thank you

    Maggy
    (PS coming via Blog Gems)

  13. It’s not an easy subject to deal with, and not sure how I got here. For anyone unsure and there are a lot of comments here, this is my story and it might help – though I hope you never find yourselves there…..

    http://victoriamacdonald.blogspot.com/2010/04/puddle-jumping.html

  14. I seem to be crying a lot at blog posts recently. My children are only little, but I really hope I can be as good a Mum as you seem to be.

    x

  15. Pingback: The Big Question » Gappy Tales

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