Aria is beginning to understand the concept of death and its finality.
I had to tackle this subject head on and think on my feet thanks to our local neighbourhood cats.
On our way to school we came across a dead mouse on the path. It had been there a while, it was stiff and curled up.
“Mummy, what’s that?” Aria asked.
“It’s a mouse sweetheart” I replied.
“What’ wrong with it?” she asked.
“It’s dead I’m afraid” I had to, unfortunately, say.
“Like my tablet!” she exclaimed.
So I rolled with that.
I used her tablet as an analogy, saying “a bit like that babe. When your the battery on your tablet dies you plug it in to charge, the same with Mummy’s phone, when the battery is empty we plug it in. Animals don’t actually have batteries though… so when they die we can’t recharge them. They’re just gone”.
“Oh”, she replied, “what about people?”
“Sorry baby”, I said, “we don’t have batteries either”.
“Oh…” and she carried on her way to school, completely unphased.
I thought it would be much, much harder than that to explain to her, but she seemed to get it so easily.
A few months passed but the time came and I had to broach the subject of death with Aria again, while watching Big Cat Week. She’s team antelope by the way… or was, until i explained the circle of life to her (thank you Disney!).
Stealing words from Mufasa, I explained that all animals, including humans, are connected in a circle of life. Some animals eat plants, those animals are eaten by other animals and then those animals fertilise the grass when they die, feeding the animals their kind feed on. She got it. She understood it, even with my waffling. So while she may still be mostly team antelope, she’s also team big cat and knows they need to eat.
Ok, I’m getting the hang of this explaining hard subject to kids thing, I thought to myself. She’s not phased at all by what death is or what it means. She’s not phased that animals and people can’t return from the dead like her tablet can. She’s got it.
Since October we have had 3 losses in the family and each time she’s told us about how people don’t have batteries and that it’s sad we can’t recharge them. She’s got it and I’m hoping it a base we can work on as time goes on, explaining more in depth as time goes on. I’m also praying to any and all gods that it’s this easy to explain to Roman.