Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Talking to Kids about Tragedy

Last night my friend passed away in her sleep.

She was a young, beautiful mother of 8 young children.

There are no words when such tragedy strikes. 

After a very tearful night, I opened my eyes this morning with one of my kids snuggled up against me while another tried to see how far her finger could fit up my nose, I realized that rolling over and crying myself back to sleep just was not going to happen.

I came into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone, still in somewhat of a dream state trying to figure out how something like this could happen, when a fight broke out between two of my kids suddenly interrupting my thoughts. 

It then dawned on me that like it or not, life would have to go on today. The kids are going to fight, the mail lady is going to smile at me when she sees me and my babysitter was going to tell me about her brand new shoes. Yes, apparently life was going to continue.

I sat down with my kids and told them very gently what had happened so that they could understand on a very small scale that mommy was feeling sad.

The response I received was astounding.

My five year old said, "That's silly mommy, she wasn't an old lady. And mommys don't pass away. Can I go to their house and tell her five year old that I'm five too and then he'll be happy?"

My six year old then added, "Lets send her kids lots of candy and then they wont be so sad. I feel very sad inside, I don't want them to feel sad too."

And what my eight year old said made me almost fall over. 

He said, "Mommy, I know its sad, but there's a teeny bit of good, you know? Her neshama (soul) gets to go to Shamayim (heaven) and meet our Bubby. She'll get to meet Avraham and Sara and all the Tzaddikim we learn about. She gets to be with Hashem."

Last night after my friend kissed her kids good night, Hashem returned her soul to its source.

We have no idea how long we each have here, so make each moment count. Tell your spouse you love them as often as you can. Hug your kids more, smile at people more. Make the world a better place in a way that you are able to.

For those of us who homeschool our kids, as challenging as it can be to be with our kids all day, look how LUCKY we are to be able to spend so much time with them. 

So how does one respond to life when a friend dies? You can resign to the inevitable with a broken spirit and walk around with a heavy heart. Or you can defy that taste of death by cherishing life even more.

May Hashem comfort her family and give them all the strength they need to get through this.

Wishing you an easy fast and a happy Purim,

1 comment:

  1. Shalom,
    I just read this...and my heart is breaking for this family. Please know that this Jewish cowgirl in Montana is thinking about all of you. May Hashem bless this sweet family during Pesach. May they feel the strong arm pulling them out of Egypt.


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