Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I don't want you to...

I have been out some nights this past couple of weeks (visits to the hospital and ER, the lamay, dentist appointment) and I wasn’t able to tuck RK to bed. When RK came home from school today, he hugged me and said, “Mommy, I missed you. I thought you died.”

The thought of death is very scary for adults, much so for kids. I know it is. I wrote the following in My Father in Catherine's Corner.
This is one of my favorite photos of my father. My father loved the ocean. When I was a child, we often went swimming. One time Papa and I went to his native town of Atimonan, Quezon Province. We were there for a few days. The house we stayed at was very close to the sea. We went swimming everyday. I was around eight or nine then. Lolo Biyo, Papa's father, had recently died. That was the very first time that a relative of mine died and I was just starting to get a grasp of mortality. We were on the shore one day, looking at the sea, and I just told Papa, "I don't want to you to grow old and die, Pa. I also don't want to grow old. I'm afraid to die." He said, "Well, everybody grows old and dies, Irene. But you and I will not die yet, not for a very long time." Now, being a mother to three children, my two older boys have gone through the same phase. When they were both about that same age, first Reggie, and then Ryan, there was a time that they kept asking me if they were gonna die. I always remembered that conversation with Papa by the ocean whenever they asked me about their mortality. I told them the same thing Papa told me that day. I told them the same thing every time they asked.

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