So September has been an up and down month, to say the least. While Michael has been adjusting to school, extra curricular activities and a new routine, there has been some insecurity. He has been a little more clingy to me in the evenings, a particularly vulnerable time. As I mentioned before, in the day time he is brave and sometimes even pushes me away telling me he prefers to be by himself. But at night, like most of us, the monsters come out, real and imagined. Last night at bedtime, after a particularly challenging evening, Michael started asking question God, life, death and heaven.
“Will I be alone in heaven one day Mommy? Will you be there with me? Will Daddy be there with me?”
“I will and Daddy will, Michael. We are a lot older than you so we will be there in heaven when you come.”
“Oh good, because I love God and Jesus and want to go to heaven when I am old one day, but I don’t want to be alone there without you or Daddy.”
I lay there next to him in the dark stunned as usual when he came up with these statements. Then, as I stayed quiet hugging him, he spoke quietly again.
“Mommy, I don’t want to die.” My heart broke for him, for all people who love life and fear their own mortality and eventual demise. I used to be so afraid of death when I was a child. When I first asked my parents about death and dying, I was around Michael’s age, eight or nine years old. I had asked if I would die, if they would die. My mother had answered yes, but that I would never be alone. There were people in my family that loved me and would take care of me should something happen to her or my Dad. She also told me that God would always be with me and help me find the right people to take care of me. She of course reassured me that her and my father would do everything in their power to stay alive for as long as they could. They wanted to see me grow up, get married, have children. I did all of the above and my parents, God bless them, are still with us. And I remember my Mom telling me that I was young. I would not die for a very long time. Unfortunately those words are not always true in our world. Many young people die in very tragic and sad ways, but for the most part, if all goes well, we can usually make it a long time in this world. Like my mother, I wanted to be positive with Michael and not give him additional worries. I told him all of the above.
Michael was really beginning to understand his place in the universe, and trying to understand the big questions of life. Amazing! He was expressing his desire to pray, and I heard his prayers asking God to help him concentrate better in school and not fight with me or his father. How many of us ask what our belief system really is? How many of us honestly and openly confront our fears of solitude? Exceptional Moms, whatever your spiritual faith is or isn’t, it’s important for you to address your own beliefs about life and death, and your own fears of solitude. Only in being honest with your own questions and answers, will you be ready when your child asks questions or you have to explain sickness or death of a loved one. Making peace with your past feelings will help you move forward into acceptance and help your child when they have to do the same. Until next time.