Today my six year old asked if he could catch a stroke.
My mom has had a few mini-strokes lately. At first I was panicked about it. Now I realize it’s part of the process.
The hardest part of end of life is helping my kids understand it. Actually maybe it isn’t the hardest part, but it’s the trickiest for me to negotiate. How do I explain strokes? How do I explain why my dad spoon feeds his wife? How do I explain when I am fine one moment, and overcome with tears and shaking the next?
What’s wrong? they’ll ask.
My mom is sick. I miss her.
Why do you miss her? She’s right there?
And she is. She’s right there. She’s at my dinner table, stirring her food around. She’s in the kitchen pouring dish soap into mugs. She’s in the family room, picking up quesadillas.
She is right here.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about how to tell them things, how to explain things. The way they interpet or rather see life is so much more pure. So much more simple. Like revelations that are right in front of me.
It’s a privilege to have kids. It’s a privilege to write for kids. It’s a privilege to be near kids.
Writing Exercise: Try to write a scene from a four year old’s point of view. Something big. Death, divorce, illness, heartbreak, abandonment, fear, etc. See if you can simplify it, see from their eyes. What do you discover? How does the world change? Is there new possibilities? Wonder? Hurt? Joy?
Recent conversation with my four year old:
He said, I really love you, Mom and I hope you never die.
I said, thank you. I love you too.
Then he said, I hope you always stay the same number so you can always do what you want to do and not get Alzheimer’s.
What if we could always stay the same number and always do what we want to do?