Monday, June 30, 2008

Two-Year-Old Wisdom

I was estranged from my mother ever since, well, to be honest, ever since the day that I was born. But I was in my thirties when I quit speaking to her, and so, perhaps, her death, when I was in my late, late forties, was less traumatic for me that the death of a parent often is for many adults.

This weekend, as he got sleepy for his nap, G/Son said to me, "I miss my mommy." I said, "Well, Mommy is coming soon to pick you up, and I'm sure that she misses you, too." G/Son asked, "Do you miss your mommy?" Not thinking, and I was driving at the time and calculating if we could get home before G/Son fell asleep in his car seat and whether or not I could put away the groceries before his nap or if I should try to put him down for his nap and THEN put away the groceries, and that's the best excuse that I have, I said, "Well, Nonna's mommy is dead."

That engendered a solid full five minutes -- forever in a two-year-old's world -- of the following dialogue, repeated over and over again:

G/Son: You don' have a mommy?

Nonna: When I was little, like you, I had a mommy. But when I got very old, my mommy got very, very old and she got sick and died. But I have you, and your mommy, and your daddy to love, so I'm not sad.

G/Son: You don' have a mommy?

. . . .

Finally, I said, "Nonna's mommy liked to help poor people and when she got too sick to stay here, she went to the Summerlands. I like to think that she likes the apples and the apple cider."

G/Son: Your mommy died?

Nonna: That's right.

G/Son: Well, Nonna, sometimes, that happens.

Death happens.

In my religion, it's as important as new life emerging in the Spring. I won't, don't want to, refuse to impose my religion on G/Son. Yet, I'd like him to take a more reasonable view of death than do most Americans. And as we head from the longest day of the year, high summer, to Lughnasadh, the first of the harvests, I want to celebrate Death, that great harvest, in my own life and to be honest w/ G/Son about it.


Rapunzel said...

I'm struggling with this concept in my own life right now, thank you for your insight, and inspiring me to think of death differently.

ntodd said...

Sometimes that does indeed happen. How sadly beautiful.