D.O.A.

At different times we’ve had issues with one or the other of our kids and the topic of death.

The passing of a very close family friend back in 2011 saw us seeking counselling for Master7 (when he was 6) because he was depressed and worried about going to sleep. At bedtime his worries were almost exactly the opposite of mine.

“What if I don’t wake up?” he’d ask.

Whereas when I lie in bed I’m worried I won’t get to sleep.

Fortunately the lovely therapist was able to guide him through the darkness and now, even though we still miss our friend, he can smile at the memories.

I remember when the concept of death hit me. My family was staying at a motel on Bribie Island, visiting my grandparents. We’d been tucked into bed and I asked about what happens when we die. I can’t remember what my parents said, but it was probably, ‘It’s bedtime. Be quiet.’ What I do know is whatever they said wasn’t very reassuring because the part of the night I can remember is bawling and my father raising his voice and telling me to stop being so stupid. I don’t recall exactly but his rant probably included a threat that he’d show me exactly what happened if I didn’t go to sleep. Dad was always big on practical lessons.

And you know what? I don’t blame him one bit. While I can only remember this one episode it was probably at the end of a week or two of tears and refusing to sleep and unanswerable questions. I mean, we don’t all have nice child psychology degrees to help with these problem times in a kid’s life. They didn’t even have Supernanny to refer to as she’s only been around since 2004.

All our kids felt the sting of loss with Chriss’s passing. But it showed itself differently for each one. With Master7, a chip off the ol’ block, we had tears, questions and lots of wrong answers from us. Whereas Miss5 took it all in her stride and seemed to accept death as a natural and common part of the world.

Just how okay she is with the whole concept is demonstrated whenever a family member comes to visit who she hasn’t seen for a while. Nanny, Grandma, her brother, Master21 – they’ve all been on the receiving end of her meh attitude to death.

Like the other day when Auntie Kerri popped in. Because she lives up the top end of Queensland, she hasn’t been here for about a year.

“Hi!” my sister grinned as she walked through the door. Kids came running from all directions for hugs and kisses and the promise of gifts.

“I haven’t seen you for ages,” Miss5 said to her. Kerri had picked her up and Miss5 was holding my sister’s face in both her hands and staring happily into her eyes. “I thought you were dead.”

Yep, you don’t want to leave it too long between visits or Miss5 will have you pushing up daisies.

I know she’s always the first one I try to say hello to when I arrive home from work.

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