I was worried about having the conversation about death with my children. I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps they would ask questions I couldn’t answer.
*Trigger Warning – Family Death
The month of April was incredibly hard, as a mother, wife, daughter, and friend. This month marked the 6th anniversary of my father’s passing and on the 30th of this month, my mother in law also made the transition from life to death.
I was worried about the conversation about death with my children. When my father passed they were still young (6 and 7 years old). We talked about them not seeing Pop-Pop again and where we believed he would spend eternity. We are born-again Christians and my father was too. So, our belief is that when your body is no longer here in this world, you are present with the Lord.
At that age, they absorbed as much as possible but basically understood that Pop-Pop was with Jesus. He left peacefully and was now healthy, happy and whole. This time, I was worried about our conversation. My children were older. They understood more and perhaps they would ask questions I couldn’t answer.
I didn’t know what to expect.
As my mother-in-law was making her transition from this world to the next, I could see the uncomfortable looks on their faces when we visited. Their hesitation to say hello, or kiss their grandma. I understood, but at the same time, I wanted them to have no regrets.
I knew it was time to have the “death” conversation again. But what do I say now? I was so unsure.
I would ask on the way home how they felt. Carl is more verbal than Candyce. My son would say, “I’m okay.” Or, “I understand what’s happening.” My daughter, on the other hand, was silent. She tends to show all her emotions on her face. I can read her like a book. She was afraid, saddened and concerned about her father, Nannie and me.
On the morning that Nannie passed… I came home to tell the kids. You know, when people say that kids are resilient it IS true. I think they process and understand things in a way that seems so logical…..sometimes.
I gathered them both and told them, “Nannie has passed on.” My son was very matter of fact. He said, “Oh, okay.” My daughter said the same. I looked in their eyes because I really wanted to know if there were questions. Anything, anything at all? Candyce said, “As long as Nannie went peacefully, we’ll see her again when we get to heaven.”
Was that it? I mean really, WAS THAT IT? Did they understand? Should I offer information? I thought, “No, only give what they ask for.” Right, that’s the way it’s done, yes, that is the way it’s done!” Were they saddened? Hmmm. I really couldn’t tell. They said they were sad, that they wouldn’t see Nannie again while they are here on this earth, but they were sure they’ll see her in heaven when they get there.
Well, okay. What to do now? Nothing I guess. Answer questions if they ask. I was off kilter, a little taken aback by the ease of the conversation. For a brief moment, I tooted my own horn. TOOT! TOOOOOOT! Well done MUMMY! (In my best English accent!) Now, back to mothering.
“Who left this crusty plate in the sink! Get over here and clean it now!”
Candace Beach has been married to Ralph Beach for 15 years and they have a blended family that consists of 2 boys, Ralph Jr. (34) and Carlisle (14), as well as 2 girls named Barbara-Ann (26) and Candyce (13), YIKES! She sees motherhood as ever changing, like the gift that keeps on giving, Sometimes heartache and other times great joy!
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