At bedtime tonight, snuggled up with the 4 year old Sunshine Princess, she said to me, “mumma I want to tell you something. It’s something really sad”.
Honestly I was expecting it to be that she no longer wants to be Cinderella, or that pink was her favourite colour again now, not purple, as it has been all week.
Instead, she leant over and whispered in my ear, “I think I don’t love Paisley anymore mumma.”
Taken aback, but trying not to show my shock, I asked her why she thought that.
“Well, just cause she’s dead mumma, ” She answered matter- of- factly, “And that means I can’t see her or play with her or teach her to walk.”
I told her, for what I’m sure is the millionth time, that even though she’s dead, we can keep loving her. That she will always be her sister, and she can love her forever, even though she doesn’t get to see her. She thought about it, and then said, “She’s been dead a loooooonnnnngggg time mumma. Can we go get her back now?”
How do you explain the permanency of death to a child who thinks next week is an eternity away?
She thinks a lot my Sunshine girl. Touched by death at 2, she’s empathetic and thoughtful, and understands more about these concepts than most kids her age, and she’s not afraid to talk about death, or how she feels about it. Her beliefs about death are fluid, changing as she gets older and understands more. Grief is shaping her worldview and that is hard for me to accept, that she never got to experience childhood without knowing such intimate sadness in her family. She hasn’t grown to be angry about it yet, but I think its coming. Her current opinion is that she just doesn’t like people being dead very much. And I don’t blame her. I don’t like dead either.
A few nights ago, she woke me in the middle of the night standing next to my bed sobbing. “Mumma I’m sad!”
I scooped her up and pulled her into the bed,
“What are you sad about sweetheart”
“Paisley!! I don’t want her to be dead anymore mummy. I don’t like it. I don’t like dead, mumma.”
I know darling. I don’t like it either.