Last night, as I was laying down in bed with Kenzie, she kept saying "I can't go to sleep, mommy."
I finally asked her why. She said, "I don't want you to die."
I laughed soflty and said, "Well, I'm not dying right now and I'm very much alive. I won't die for quite a long time... so let's get some shut-eye and go to sleep."
She grabbed my arms and put her hand in mine, snuggling close and I kissed her head. She then asked, "Why do parents die before their children?"
I told her that usually, that is how things happen. We grow older, and our bodies get weaker and wear out. If we take good care of ourselves, we will live a long time, unless there is an accident. But parents need to live long enough for their kids to be independent and able to take care of themselves. That she was not to worry... by the time she was grown up and I was old, she would be asking herself "Hasn't she kicked off yet?"
Kenzie didn't find that funny. I guess I like the morbid humor, but Kenzie is really feeling a little insecure about death. I did, too, as a child. But I have had to work through that fear of being without my parents. As a kid, and even as a young adult, I felt that my life would not be worth anything if I didn't have my mom and dad.
And to be honest, it took me a long time to reconcile their dying with the natural order of things. By the time my father had his stroke, and then after 2 years dealing with that, he began to suffer mini-strokes and his body began to just shut down on him, I felt that death would be a blessing for him. He was in pain, confused, and had no life other than experiencing the process of dying. I always believed when he died, I'd break down and be an emotional wreck. But when the time came, I felt he was finally at peace. It was my mom who was the emotional wreck. I 'm sure she thought that there would be some kind of miracle and dad would pull through. So, I ended up being strong for her.
I hope I can help Kenzie understand and deal with death in a constructive and positive way. I don't expect her to shut down her emotions, but I want her to not fear our deaths so that it disrupts her life.
Then last night, in the middle of the night, I heard Richelle call, "Mommy..."
I woke up and asked "Huh?"
"I want to give you a hug."
Can't tell you how long it's been since I've been waiting for something like that. I reached over and held her, kissing her head a couple of times. And then she said, "I just wanted to give you a hug." (As if the kissing thing was just a little overboard.)
LOL! That's my girl.