Monday, September 26, 2011

little lion king lies

a couple years back I ordered every Disney movie I could get my hands on (minus Pinocchio and Dumbo which both upset me in ways I'd never subject my babies to). so a couple of weeks ago, I broke out The Lion King not knowing what to expect. I worried that it was too scary or sad and feared that it may prompt questions I'm not prepared to answer. I was kind of right.

while the scary parts are easy enough to flip through, it's the sad parts and the girls reactions to them that are flipping me out. this afternoon, Maisy said to Birdie: Simba's daddy die. without missing a beat, Birdie told her sister: yeah, but it's just pretend. mommies and daddies don't die in real life. right, mommy?

and I lied. I had to. for their sake and mine I said: mmmhmmm. this is one conversation I'm not ready to have. I'd rather be asked about where babies come from.

the fact is, I was just a couple years older than Biride is now when I was shaken by and deeply affected by death. I remember so vividly sitting in Kay's Bakery with my mom and her pregnant friend. they were talking about the new baby and I recall my mom offering to come help with the baby's room. I was eating a smiley face cookie. it seems like it was the very next day that this friend, her baby, and her husband were all killed when a driver--drunk and high on cocaine--hit them head on. her young son, Billy, survived, but was paralyzed from the chest down. I remember shortly after the accident we went to my dad's office and I saw and read the story of the crash through the glass of a newspaper machine.

I had so many questions and was so confused and can remember feeling so overwhelmed by emotions that I'd never before felt. I was so traumatized by the shock of someone being there-right there-one day and gone the next.

I don't know if a death talk before this tragedy would have alleviated the terror that consumed me. (in a case this horrific, I doubt it) but it does make me question how long I can put off being up front and honest with the girls about questions of life and death.

I worry that having that conversation would somehow allow the universe to feel that my girls are prepared to accept and deal with death, and I can't handle that. so when is the right time?! does anyone know...or think they know?? help me out here...


Suzanne said...

I don't think loss, especially the loss of a parent, is ever understadable to a child, whether they're 5, 25 or 50. When you're older, sometimes (though, not always) you can reason with the "why" or rationalize death in ways you can't when you're a child, and too young to understand any bit of it. The only suggestion I can offer is the way death was explained to me as a child, and that is through God. While now I know it's a bit more complex (but, is it really?) that death was only temporary because eventually I would see my loved one again in Heaven. It was never made to be a sad thing, more like "Oh, well God needed (insert person here) up in Heaven with Him and one day we'll all be together again". I really don't think my mom had too much of a choice b/c in school we learned about all this jazz in Kindie b/c of private school religion classes. I probs starting peppering her with questions, much like your girls are doing to you ;)

Anonymous said...

For you -- Read the book
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.

For your kids, I would just have books around the house and teach them that death is a part of life.

What's Heaven by Maria Shriver
All God's Creatures Go To Heaven by Amy Nolfo-Wheeler
What is Heaven Like? by Beverly Lewis

The Dragonfly Door by John Adams
Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst