Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Life, Death, Kids

So in December we lost our teenage cousin to a brain tumour which then forced me to have the talk about life and death with the kids. Now both Cali and RD knew she was ill, but I couldn't tell them she had a tumour as I too have a tumour and the kids are very smart and would've joined up the dots and then be worried that I'm going to die next. So I explained it as her having a very painful and dangerous headache that made her very sick. I also let them follow her journey  as she went out to the States to a specialist children's hospital to get Proton Beam treatment.
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Now as morbid or pessimistic as it sounds I kinda knew she was gonna die, so I started preparing the kids for it, so that when it actually happened her death wouldn't be a huge shock or scare them. I explained that sometimes god likes to give people their angel wings early so they can fly up to heaven and help God out up there. So they understood that dying young/getting your wings early can happen and isnt a horrible punishment for being bad. So when my cousin did eventually pass I simply sat the kids down and said to them She's been given her angel wings and RD's response was:
'Mummy I'm glad she got them early, because it means that she was a really really nice person if god wanted her in heaven with him'
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Although they understood and dealt with the news well, I did wonder how they would deal with going to their first funeral. So once again I explained exactly what can happen at a funeral to prepare them for it. But the one thing I didn't prepare them for was me crying. Now I'd told them that some people may be sad or crying but I guess I never said I would be one of those people. Now the kids have never seen me cry or be that sad before (because I make a point to never cry in front of them) so when we reached the funeral they both had completely different reactions. RD was very sad and concerned and comforted me when I cried. Cali was just shocked, because she's never seen me cry so was baffled as to why I was so upset. Now Cali is a very disengaged child anyway so it was no real shock that she didn't really care about what was going on. But RD really experienced the funeral (if that makes sense) although we aren't Catholic RD still wanted us to go up and receive a blessing, he also made sure he looked in the open coffin as he wanted to see what she would look like, because obviously he's never seen a dead person. 
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Once at the graveside Cali refused to go anywhere near anyone's grave, but RD was determined to see everything and made sure he threw a rose on her coffin and although he was too small to shovel earth on the grave he made sure he still took a handful of dirt and sprinkled it on the grave. Then stood right at the front with my deceased cousins sister and aunties. 
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When we arrived back at the church hall for the wake I hardly saw RD as he went straight in the kitchen to help and then cleared up at the very end and checked that my auntie (deceased cousins mum) was doing OK and wasn't too sad which I thought was lovely.
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I'm glad I brought them to the funeral and that they now know a bit more about the circle of life. Because if my cousin (who the kids absolutely loved) didn't die I wouldn't have any real reason to explain death to them or it may have been harder to explain without having an example or scaring them and I guess it's not something you really think about until it actually happens to someone close.
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So now RD carries my cousins funeral programme everywhere with him as he said he wants to keep her near and he loves the fact that he now has his own special angel looking out for him.

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