Last week, the mother of a friend of TheWife passed away. As she prepared to go to the wake that evening, LatteGirl in her usual inquisitive manner asked where she was going. TheWife explained the situation. LatteGirl showed empathy in expressing how sad that was. That empathy brought her to a decision… she wanted to go “visit” Poppie.
We pondered it for a bit, and decided that there should be no major psychological harm and decided to take her to the mausoleum, still quite sure how she would react.
It was, in a word… interesting. As we walked up to the location, at first she put her hand on the marble stone, waited a beat and then asked, “Poppie’s IN there?” I replied “Yes.” “Can I see him?” Oh boy. Here we go. “Um… no honey” “But why not?” How do you explain a 2 year old rotting corpse to a 6 year old in a way won’t bring on months of nightmares. TheWife and I managed to wiggle around it as best we could until either she was satisfied with the answer… or she just decided we were idiots that wouldn’t give her a straight answer. Either way… She stopped.
She sort of hung on the stone, keeping her hand on his name, and every so often expressing how much she missed him. But in general her spirits were OK, and she found some diversions in noticing what other people had on their markers, pictures, emblems etc. Everything was good until we said it was time to go. She did not want to leave. So the haggling began. She started off with “Can we come every day?”, to which I countered with the non-specific, “We can come every so often.” She retorted with, “Fine. How is every week?” We settled on once a month, “for now” to be reconsidered later.
That satisfied her (for the time being), we said good-bye to Poppie… until October.
I still can’t believe how well she handles herself with this at 6 year old. She never fails to impress me.