A little 9 year old girl who was on my daughter’s all star team during last year’s baseball season got sick in April.
Today, my own 10 year old daughter will attend her wake. My daughter and her friend, another fellow ball player from the same team, will visit a very sad place and try to understand the magnitude of what it means when a child dies.
A child just like they are.
My daughter is not unfamiliar with death, although there hasn’t been a lot in her short little life. A beloved uncle died when she was too young to remember, and her very actively involved aunt was recently diagnosed with aggressive, terminal cancer.
She does remember our dog somewhat, mostly because of photos and videos I took. He died before she was 3. Most recently, her beloved guinea pig, Charlie Chaplin, died, about three or four years ago. We buried him in a garden.
More distantly, a classmate of hers back in grade 3 lost her dad suddenly to a heart attack. This situation introduced a lot of important dialogue at the dinner table for us, which is crucial. No place safer than at home with your parents to touch on these subjects.
My children understand what a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) is, that some treatments do not cure certain illnesses, and that sometimes, bad things happen to good people, often unexpectedly. When this drunk driving tragedy happened where three young children and their grandfather were killed, we had lots of discussions about death, and how people who remain behind must find a way to continue with their own life.
The father of the little girl who died recently is heavily involved in our baseball league, as a coach, a convenor, a volunteer. He is well known by many and our hearts are breaking for him and his family.
It will be interesting to see how my girl will handle today’s visitation. I’m leaving my parenting mind on alert in case some uncharacteristic behaviour emerges, either today, or at a later date. I know that kids process things differently than adults do.