October 6, 2010

Even the greatest of lives are lost

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:53 am by letterstoelias

The circle of life is something that our girls understand remarkably well at such an early age.

The other day, a bird hit the window at the store.  I saw it fall, and though I was hoping it would be simply stunned, I had a bad feeling.  As it turned out, the bird did not survive.  Not wanting to leave it on the sidewalk in front of the door, I scooped it into a box with plans to bring it home and bury it in the yard.  When E came back from kindergarten, she had already heard what had happened, and immediately wanted to see the bird.  She looked in the box, and before I could utter a word, picked it up gently into her hands.  She cradled it with incredible care, examined it’s beauty, and expressed sorrow for it’s loss.  No fear.  No drama.

She was sad for the bird, but also appreciated the ability to examine it closely.  C, of course, expressed interest in touching the bird but as her finger came close to it she just let out a yelp and said it was  ‘too harp!’ before making contact.  The bird came home with us, and was buried beneath the big cedar in the yard after we thanked him/her? for providing beauty to our world.

Though the girls don’t watch much tv, they do watch a fair bit of nature shows.  As often is the case in such shows, one animal will kill and eat another.  E loves to explain that – animal ‘x’ doesn’t really want to kill animal ‘y’, but it needs to in order to live.  She is sad for the one who died, but is not traumatized in any way.  As we were watching one yesterday, there was footage of a humpback whale who had died.  The narrator explained that they did not know how it died, but that ‘even the greatest of lives are lost’, and that this amazing creature’s body would now help other animals survive and breed new life.

Perhaps it was the incident with the bird, the show, you – or all of this combined – but death is on C’s mind these days.  It’s hard to know that someone so little has so much heaviness on her heart to carry.  The other day she was looking for me in the house.  I called to her from the laundry room to let her know where I was. . . .

C – ‘Oh.  There you are!  I thought you died.’

Me – ‘Really?’

C – ‘Yeah’

Me – ‘Why would you think that My Love?’

C – ‘Cause, I thought you died’

Me (picking her up with a hug) – ‘Oh . . .

C (giving me a big squeeze) –  ‘Mama, when you die, I ‘ant to die wit you’

Me – ‘Really?  Why is that?’

C – ‘So we can SWOOSH!  Fly up into the clouds and around the sky . . . ‘

Then she also said something about ‘seeing Daddy’.  Today in the car, she was even singing a little song in the back seat (as she so often does), and it was about someone dying.  ‘But dat id ok’ she sang.

Our baby is now 3.  Another big day gone by.  It was not a ‘first’, but it was still hard.  I still felt like I had run an emotional marathon by the time the day was over, even though we didn’t do much on the ‘actual’ day.  But the fact that you have now missed two of her birthdays and (aside from her actual day of birth) were only there for one, is not easy.

Crap.  The song ‘Tears in Heaven’ just popped into my head for some reason . . .  that song made me cry long before I ever knew anyone to die.

*****

24hrs have passed since I wrote the above, but for now I still can’t seem to finish . . . . so I guess I’ll have to write the rest another time.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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1 Comment »

  1. Dan Cano said,

    I have been reading this post, and allowing myself to experience each of these short passages about how death seems to weave in and out of your day. It was quite poetic actually. It’s funny, but it didn’t seem sad. It just seemed present. I think you are on to something in describing how the girls have such an advance sense of death at this point. We all do. Ours might be more based on pain at certain moments, but there are definitely times when I connect with the balance of nature, and the natural occurrence of loss. I like thinking about the beauty of death. When I step outside my own personal grief, I do see the beauty in witnessing life cycle forward.

    Nice writing Chelsea.


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