Children are such honest beings. My grandmother passed away recently and the timing was at a very hectic (as though death every comes at a good time) juncture of my life. My husband and I decided to not take our children to the funeral for several reasons. The eight hours of driving in one day, the idea that my youngest won’t understand and the four year old would be upset and doesn’t need to go through the experience, yet.
With my degree in education and finishing my MA in early childhood education and frankly, just all of my experience with children, I should have known my son understood way more then I let on or gave him credit for. In fact I never once mentioned that my grandmother had passed yet he understood and actually comforted me. I wasn’t ready to talk to him about it but I didn’t have a choice, he was ready.
I drove to my grandfathers to pick something up and my son was in the car. He was so excited about going inside to get jellybeans because “Nana always has jellybeans.”
Truth be told I wasn’t even going to take him inside but here was my conversation with him that still blows me away:
Son: I want to go see Nana and Papa.
Mom: Papa is inside resting sweetie and Nana…she doesn’t live here anymore.
Son: Oh, were does she live. Let’s go see her.
Mom: Heaven (crying my eyes out now).
Son: You mean she’s dead. Mom she died.
Mom: Yes. I guess that is what I mean (crying so hard I can’t breath).
Son: That is sad. I will miss her. What is wrong with you mom?
Mom: I’m okay, I just…I miss her too. She was my grandma and I miss her so very much. I’m just sad.
Son: Well, we can go see her name.
Mom: Her name?
Son: You know they put her name up and we can go visit it. That will make her happy.
Mom: Yes, that would. She’s very happy in Heaven but yes that will make her smile.
Son: She’s flying.
Mom: She’s flying? Where have you heard all of this? Who talked to you about heaven, dying, flying and names?
Son: Lindsay (5 year old cousin). She said Nana will have wings and fly.
When did these two children talk about this? When did they discuss her death and being sick? They knew she was sick; we visited her sick for over a year but never discussed dying. Obviously the children did.
My son walked into the house after our conversation and walked into the bedroom with the jellybean machine and said,
“Mom, I think Nana left all of these jellybeans for me. She knows I love them.”
I couldn’t talk. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I smiled and shook my head yes. Nana would do something nice like that. I don’t think I will ever think of a jellybean the same way.
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