I Promise.

by Lori Dwyer on October 15, 2013 · 8 comments

My daughter, bless her sweet, timid fairy self, is terrified of death and dying.

Just like my son, she understands death not just as a concept, but as a reality. Death has been an ugly, all-too-regular occurrence for as long as she can remember. She was only 15 months old when her father died; from there, pets and people she loved have fallen like dominoes. I wish I could read her mind, dig underneath the fluffy pink ballerina exterior and see how much sadness has permanently settled into her soul.

When I was a child, death was something that would never happen to me, or to the people directly connected with me. I tell my daughter that things don’t die very often, and that feels like a lie. I guess that to her it is a lie. Evidence tells her otherwise.

I put her brother into his room for a time-out and he shrieks as though the world is ending. “Is he going to be okay?” asks my Bumpy girl, worry and concern etched on her tiny face, “He’s not going to die, is he?”

No, I promise her. No, most definitely not. He is fine, he is going to be just fine.

We find a squashed snail on our way to school and she mourns for it, talks about how very, very sad it is for the next few days.

The kindergarten fish dies and is promptly replaced. I know there is no announcement made- who would tell kindy kids that, really, if they didn’t have to?- but the Bump knows. She knows, far too well, what it means when living things are just not there any more.

I head out for dinner with blogging friends, the first time I’ve been out and left my children at home with The Most Amazing Man. He spends half the night reassuring the Bump that I am not going to die, that I will be home safe in just a few hours.

I am not going to die, I tell her, not for a very, very long time. I will be old and grey before I go anywhere. I promise, I say, and I may just be lying to her, over and over, the way we do with our children, because telling them the truth would just be cruel.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen October 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

I am not trying to be pushy or second-guess you I promise, and I apologize deeply if this makes you feel that way even a tiny bit!
I don’t do yoga myself and I don’t have children either but I am a homecare nurse for kids with disabilities. I have a good friend who is a yoga therapist whose child passed away a year ago leaving his two young sisters behind. I would have to, and could, ask her which yoga therapy helped them the most but I know she told me it did help them find ways to express things they were feeling but could not articulate or understand.


Jan October 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Love that is all you can doto reasure them they have gone through more than most at there tender age lets hope they don’t have to go thought another one for along time


Kazza October 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Oh Lori my son (just turned seven) is exactly the same about death. My little one was diagnosed with leukaemia last year and has also had to have THE talks about “Will I die” ect. He gets so worried about me dieing ,he gives me hugs n tell me loves me “Just in case I die” about twenty times a day. Poor little kids shouldn’t have to worry about death but what can you do? xx


Griff October 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Probably one of the deepest posts I’ve seen in a while Lori. Tears and sobs as usual.
Brad (Griff) xox
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Lady in a Straight Jacket October 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Good grief, this post hit several nerves. When a child so young struggles with the concept of death- the knowing it’s permanency, the beginning of that fear… we try to protect our children from that. Then we remember that perhaps it’s more of a case of guiding them though rather than softening it all with sweet little lies. There is barely a thing in this world that is harder. You and I know that there are things out there that ARE harder, but this is right up there. xoxo


Drea B October 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I feel for her, it may be with her for a long time. I still stress when people are late – I assume they’re dead. My husband knows he has to let me know if he’s running late but sometimes he forgets and I spend the entire time thinking he must be dead.

Would it help her if you sent a txt message while you’re out as a form of reassurance?


Manda October 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

You’ve had a hard road, both of you =) But she’s bounces really well. Brushes herself off, checks in to make sure she’s really ok, and gets back into sparkling again.

You’ll look good as a grey haired granny.


Michelle Holland October 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

Poor Bump :-( I had a lucky childhood where we didn’t even lose a dog until I was 14. We are much better equipped to deal with death and loss at that age. Reassuring her is all you can do – and with you as her strong, caring Mum, I know she will be ok x
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