I was sat on the sofa with Dexter at the weekend, having a rare cuddle with no phone or laptop interrupting us, and somehow we got onto the subject of death. Nice. I should point out it wasn’t a subject I raised but moreover, I think it was prompted by something we were watching on TV. Damn you Surprise Surprise!
I could see the cogs turning in that smart head of his – he was coming to terms with the fact that he knew I was going to die (at some point) and the realisation suddenly kicked in. Poor kid was in pieces.
Of course, I comforted him, reassured him he’d never be alone, I let him cry and reassured him that yes, it was inevitable, but that it was a long LONG way off yet but in that moment, his pain was palpable.
The thing is, I felt totally useless in that moment. It wasn’t something I could lie about (unfortunately) – he was right, I would die … eventually … but I wanted to be able to comfort him and make him feel that everything would be OK. The thing is, he doesn’t have his father in his life and so it’s just me. Dexter’s world is ME … and when I go, everything will change for him. It’s an awfully big cross to bear.
I don’t know if it’s normal for children to think about their parents dying at this age. Dexter is 9, but older and, most of the time, wiser than his years, and as much as he loves Minecraft and WWE and spending his pocket money on sweets … he has a serious soul and ponders on things that I wish he wouldn’t at this tender age.
Does anyone else have children who have broached this subject with them? And, more importantly, what on earth did you tell them to make them feel better??