Sunday, January 27, 2008

Life and Death

Death is a part of life, so it is said.
Adults have a difficult time dealing with the loss of a loved one. I can’t imagine how a child deals with such a loss.

My eight year old nephew, Brandon, is as close to a son as one can get. He’s a charming, compassionate, loving boy. For the past three months my sister has worried about how to tell him his grandfather is going to die.

His grandfather has been a very positive force in his life. His father is not active in his life at all.

From the day Brandon was born, his grandfather has been like a father to him. Playing catch for hours, letting him help mow the lawn, building Lego sets together, watching every episode of Sponge Bob, The Wiggles, Bob the Builder , etc.

As a mom, my sister wants to protect him from the pain and sadness of the impending death. Time is drawing close as we feel his time left is approximately one to two weeks.

Each time Brandon visits with his grandfather he asks to come by my house to talk. Friday night he came in and was sobbing. He realized just how sick his Papa is and knows he is going to die. He is very brave and tried to fight the tears. My sister and I told him it’s ok to cry and let his emotions out. We talked for a while about his Papa, all the good memories he has with him and how special he is to him.

Then he asked about the wake and funeral. He asked if he would be allowed to attend. My sister has been very hesitant on this. She does not want him traumatized, yet she knows it is not something she can ever re-do if she does not let him decide for himself.

I have talked with her numerous times, telling her it needs to be Brandon’s decision. I feel if we talk with him, let him know what to expect and all that will happen, he will not be so afraid.

We were out for the day on Saturday to shop for birthday gifts and run a few errands. On our way to the mall we talked a little bit. His biggest fear at the moment is letting others see him cry. I told him he could wear a pair of sunglasses. That way, no one would see his eyes and he would be free to cry when he wants. Then I thought for a moment. I asked him

“Brandon, when someone says something funny, are you embarrassed to laugh?”


“If someone says something mean, are you embarrassed to be angry?”


“Well being sad is another emotion, just like happy and angry. There is no need to be embarrassed to cry. It means you have a heart and you care.”

“Are you gonna cry?”

“Yes of course. Your Papa is a great man and I will miss him. I will be with you the whole time and if you need to talk, I’m here. If you need to cry, I’m here.”

We headed into the mall and walked around a few stores.
We went to Macy’s looked around the cosmetic counter while his mother went off to browse, Oh the fun we had with all those samples. We laughed, sprayed each other with all the sample bottles of perfume and got looks of dismay from the “proper” ladies working the counter there.

I know , immature and foolish but sometimes you just have to break the rules. To see this little boy smile from ear to ear and laugh from deep in his belly was worth all the glaring looks from the cosmetic ladies. We left laughing and smelling quite loud.

All the way home he kept asking me to smell him while he smiled as if we had this little secret.


Anonymous said...

He is an amazing young man...we did well with him!

Random Thoughts to Amuse said...

You did well with him.. I just keep you in line LOL

He is awesome. He is doing so well, trying to cope. I am very proud of him

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

i guess death is inevitable. I am sure he is coping well and will be just fine with time.