7 09/06/2012 parenting Parenting Issues

Are You Going To Die?

“Are you going to die?”  This from my four-year old, almost asleep in his car seat, last night.

On the weekend, he started asking me questions about my mom.  I explained that she got very sick and that the doctors couldn’t help her, and so unfortunately, she died.  I’m not going to candy coat it.  But obviously, he’s not just forgotten it.


My heart breaks.  You shouldn’t have to be four and ask that question.  I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m lying my ass off when I say, ‘Don’t worry honey.  Mommy isn’t going anywhere for a very long time.’  I was shaking my head as I was saying it because I have no idea.  I think of Erin’s sister.  I think of the two families that I know of whose mothers were gone in a week this winter, leaving 6 motherless children.  It’s a lie but one that has to be told to a four year old who already chomps his nails to the quick.
It also hit home as I’m heading to get my boob pancaked between two panes of glass today.  It’s fifteen minutes that could change the course of your life.  At the end of the month, I’m joining with the other UrbanMoms to run (hahahahah WALK) the 5k at the Run For the Cure.  Some of our writers have been training, like the amazing Jason and our fearless leader Jen.  While I’m still biking 100k a week or so, this is NOT going to help me keep my lungs inside my body on September 30th.
Originally, I thought of leaving Will at home for the race.  Too busy.  Too hard to get down there.  Too distracting.  After last nights conversation, I looked up whether or not strollers are allowed.  They are.  So, Will will be joining our team on the course.  And I can’t wait to introduce him to some survivors and their families.  Then I’ll remember that not everyone is my mom, some cancers can be beaten – I won’t feel like such a liar.
(oh and the stroller will be AWESOME to hold a thermosof Jen’s Pimm’s cocktails!)
If you want to learn more about the Run For The Cure, please go to unforthecure.com or to sponsor our team or make a donation – please go here!
  • Anonymous

    I’ve had that question put to me as well, and I definitely didn’t sugar coat the answer. I explained to my children ( 11, 7, 5 ) just shortly after my Grandfather died that everyone dies at some point. Whether it be from illness, accident or other. I also said that we don’t know when, where or why, but when it’s your time, it’s your time. Death is a part of life and it’s something we need to accept. Just remember that mommy, daddy or anyone else close to us is still with us in our minds, hearts, and souls after they are gone and nothing will change that. You will always love and be loved by them.

  • Kim

    Heavy sigh! This is a tough question for any parent and the truthful answer is of course we don’t know. But also just as truthful is (statistically) it really won’t happen for a long, long time.
    My SIL past away from Breast cancer at 41. My daughters were 5 and 8 at the time. It was devastating but we did not hide it from them. We visited her in the hospital. It was their reality. They were losing their aunt but worse, their cousins were losing their mother. One thing we noted from that time period was the day the cousins were told their mother would not be coming home from the hospital. She would die. It was the end of her courageous journey. There were tears of course and sorrow and then my children joined their cousins in play, it’s what children do. There was laughter and smiles through the grief. We knew then they’d be ok.
    Children are resilient, beautiful creatures. They live. They love. They lose. It is part of our life cycle and is a testament to the love of a mother that raised them but won’t see them grow up.
    Live Love Laugh

  • Julie

    i have also said the “not for a long time” line but it’s just not true sometimes. when my friend was killed on the way to pick up her son from school, my girls were pretty anxious for a while after if i was even a minute late. it’s not just the old and sick that die.
    i learned that the only thing i can do is let them know every time i see them that they are my world and that if something does happen, the last thing they’ll remember about me is how much i love them.

  • Annabelle

    My five year old asks me about my death all too often, and he also seems very concerned about my hair colour. He says he really doesn’t want an old mom with white hair or a bald daddy. This morning he told me he liked my painted toe nails because they make me look younger! Such a charmer.
    I hope I meet you at the Run on the 30th!! I will be the one with the painted toe nails and freshly dyed hair.

  • Erin Little

    My girls talk about death almost daily. They seem to have understood the concept of it somewhat. They know about Maddy and how she got sick. And about Grandpa (not the details of course, just that he was sick). I tell them that I’ll likely live a long time but I don’t know for sure (they are a bit older than Will). Now they talk about wishing they were unicorns so they could use magic and none of their family or friends would ever die.
    It’s tough – but it is also a part of life.
    I had my boobs sandwiched a few weeks ago, and have a follow up ultrasound next week – it really makes me recognize my own mortality, reminding me to savour the moments.
    I wish I were running with y’all.

  • Jason

    Can’t wait to meet him and give you a big hug!

  • Tracey

    Awwww, shucks. I’ve had this question (age four) in the past too, and I hate to admit it, but I just lied about it – I sensed the anxiety, so I just tried to quell it by saying,”Not today. Not till I’m really old… here, have a cookie.”
    Of course, If I was sick, or if something was up with my health, I’d have have to level with them – that’s different.
    Enjoy the stroller walk with Will! Don’t let him pick up any chicks… handsome devil!

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