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Death Comes Knocking

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Oh my fucking god.

It’s almost 10pm, Friday night, and it has been a horrible evening.  I wrote about having the death conversation a while back.  It happened again tonight, and it was much worse.

We were reading a bedtime story, David Gets in Trouble.  It’s a series of books about this little fuckwad, David, who is always into some shit…breaking windows, forgetting his pants, you name it.  Anyway, the last page is him getting tucked into bed and saying “I love you mom.”

I closed the book, and Connor said “Mom, are you going to die?”

“We all die someday, sweetheart.  It’s part of the circle of life.”

Now I don’t normally speak like I’m in the middle of a Disney movie, but it’s the most kid-friendly explanation.

Then he asks,”Will you still be walking?”

“No honey.”

“Will you be gone,” he asks.

“Yes baby, that’s what it means, but it won’t be for a very long time.”

He immediately breaks down into hysterical crying.  He is sobbing, wailing, screeching “BUT I DON’T WANT YOU TO DIE!”

What did I do?

I hugged him, I comforted him, I  told him he didn’t have to worry for a very long time.  I even felt bad about that because, let’s face it, you just  never know what could happen.

He started wailing for Daddy.  I had to tell him Daddy was out running errands.  He started wailing for Auntie.  We went to Auntie’s room, and he ran in crying, yelling “Auntie, I don’t want my Mommy to die!”

She didn’t know what the fuck to think.

He finally calmed down enough to get into bed, where he sniffled and hiccupped while I rubbed his back.

Christ, now he’s traumatized.  Where is the fucking handbook I was supposed to get when I brought this kid home?

And I’m traumatized too.  I mean, should I have glossed over the question, lied, what?  I gave a very casual, matter-of-fact answer so that it wouldn’t seem like a big deal, like some impending doom hanging over our heads.  And we try to be the kind of parents that answer our kid’s questions honestly, in a way that’s appropriate for his age.

I just wasn’t prepared for this reaction.  I think, maybe, this is the very first moment that he understood the idea of dying.  I think maybe he just got what it means to be gone forever.

Now I feel bad for making him eat his peas.  Who gives a shit about peas when I’m dying?

AND WHERE THE FUCK IS MY HUSBAND WHEN THIS SHIT COMES UP???  How is it that he is always gone when uncomfortable topics comes up?

Why couldn’t this have been another penis conversation?

It’s a damn good thing I still have a leftover bottle of wine from New Year’s Eve.  Bottoms up!



About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

14 responses »

  1. Argh. Argh, argh, argh. I don’t look forward to this conversation.

    My sister was actually nannying once and tried avoiding questions of death after they came up. Still, she was tricked into giving some kind of answer, following which a Talking To was had, with my sister explaining: “I really didn’t bring up the conversation! Why would I want to?!”

    I think it’s traumatic no matter how it’s handled. Maybe that, too’s, part of the circle? :/

  2. Awkward. Yes, this comes up and little minds freak out. I used that same basic theory with Anthony and assured him we would be here for a long time and to remember that my parents and daddy’s parents are still around so we will have plenty of time together. And told him that one day we would all be together again.

  3. Thanks. Now that song is in my head. that’s worse than your conversation. Not really, but hey. It is bad.

  4. Acccckkkk! You did great. I”m not sure I would have done it any differently. Sucks when the reality hits them though. I’d just focus on how you’re going to be here a good long time and don’t worry about getting hit by a bus or anything.

    I wonder if he saw something or something happened for him to bring it up? Mine doesn’t usually bring up new topics or repeated topics unless it’s been plated in his head by someone else….usually those shitty NT kids at school!!!

  5. When I was in a similar situation, I handled it the exact same way. I got a similar reaction although probably not as severe. It’s tough. Whenever it has come up since then, I keep reminding my son that I didn’t die today and I’m not gonna die tomorrow, so see? You probably don’t have to worry about it until you’re a grown up. But, yeah, the penis conversations are waayyyy easier.

    And you still have wine left over from New Year’s?? It’s MAY!!

  6. My heart is sending you the hugest hug!! Well, that’s kinda gross with the arteries, slime, and pumping and all. But you know what I mean. This topic makes me dry heave at every turn. It’s not fair that our poor babies have more than their share of daily anxiety over things like routine and pretty much everything else under the sun, can’t they just get a break on the death thing? Good googly. Don’t move. I’m bringing over more wine and some tissues.

  7. It’s all David’s fault. Little fuckwad.

  8. Seriously, I had this same freaking conversation this week with Ben. Why the frack a 4yo needs to be so obsessed with death is beyond me. It made me REALLY sad to talk about it, actually. I don’t want to think about such things!! LALALALALA fingers in my ears!!!!!!

  9. Geez, I would’ve done the same thing and garnered the same reaction most likely! Thanks for the heads up — I’ll still tell the truth – probably. For what it’s worth, I think you handled it the best way you could. Sometimes we gotta rip the band-aid of innocence off fast – it stings but it will heal.

    Hope the little guy is feeling better and not dwelling on it now. And where the eff are the husbands when s*** comes up like this? It’s like they know… (maybe with the exception of the daddy bloggers-maybe).

  10. Fucking David. Screws things up for everyone. I remembered being traumatised by the whole death explanation. I honestly don’t know how I will approach this one with Louis. Maybe, I can just lie to him until he is 40.

  11. Pingback: This is Connor’s Mother | Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

  12. Oh no!!! If memory serves, the last talk went much better than this one… Sorry about that, and that you dealt with it alone. I can actually remember I had a moment like this when I was reeaally little. We were all driving in the car and I was thinking about how everyone dies and it all of a sudden made me so horribly sad I started crying. My parents were like WTF?? Completely unprepared and my mom turned around from the passenger seat and tried to calm me down with pretty much the same arguments you used. Won’t happen for a long long time, everyone goes and all that… Poor little guy. And poor you. But I think you handled it as well as anyone could. Although I like the “lie to him till he’s 40 idea”!!


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