Friday, December 19, 2008

Life and Death

Yesterday afternoon, I learned that my maternal grandmother passed away. This did not come as a big surprise, as she had been in hospice care since Thanksgiving weekend. Still, death is never easy to deal with and being so far away from my mom and family right now is especially difficult.

Talking to my son about my grandmother's death was also something that was not easy. Family is very important to me. I want to pass on to my son the value of relationships and the appreciation of family and respect and admiration for previous generations. How do I do that when we don't get a chance to spend time with my extended family as much as I would like to?

My grandmother was the first person to find my son's ticklish spot (under his chin) when he was just nine months old. Of course, she's amazing with babies and children since she had seven children, fifteen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Her husband died when her oldest (my mother) was just fifteen. She'd been through a lot in her 90+ years on this planet.

A book that I plan to share with my son is And What Comes After a Thousand?, a beautifully illustrated and touching story about an old man and a young girl who share so much together. After his passing, Lisa must come to grips with her loss and finally recognizes that Otto will always be with her, just not in the same way.

It's one of those books that you know you'll want to share with loved ones but is definitely not a bedtime story or one that you anticipate having a reason to read with a child. I'm bringing a copy home today and will set aside a special time to talk with my son about life and death.

He's got the life part down, almost. Just last night he asked me if he could have a little brother. This was followed by him trying to "see" if there was a baby in my belly. How do I explain that not everyone with a "belly" has a baby inside? I wish there were a book that spoke about that sensitive subject.

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