Death?

Uh oh.

Found this on the driveway today, right where husband’s car tires usually go.

Sad.

Seriously.

After watching those two happy lizards sunning themselves in our backyard yesterday, I feel sad when I look at this one.

A nice little life has been snuffed out.

It reminds me that I haven’t ever attempted to teach my son about death.

I’m not even sure when you’re supposed to do that with kids.

I guess it’s important when a pet dies, but our cats always just slow down and then we take them away to say goodbye.

I’m not sure the little boy really even notices that our Burmese cat is gone.  And she was quite a presence in our house.

I know I want my son to understand what it means for something to die.  I just don’t want to scare him.

My best friend passed away when her daughters were four and six.  They got the end of life lesson way too early.

I don’t want my son to worry, but I do want him to have a frame of reference if something unthinkable happens.

Should I show him this lizard and tell him that it died?  Should I try to explain what that means?  Do I even know?

There was a dead squirrel lying on the pavement in front of the door to the school auditorium this afternoon.

It was fresh dead – still bloody, you know?  Probably dropped by a hawk or something a few minutes before I got there.  Lots of hawks out by the school.

When I went to the office to sign out my son, I told the school nurse about the squirrel.

She called the janitor and tried her best to repeat what I had said, but for some reason she had a tough time coughing it up.  She couldn’t say “roadkill.”  She couldn’t even say “blood” comfortably.  And she’s a nurse.  So odd.

I kind of half hoped the janitor wouldn’t get to the squirrel before I got to my son.

I was thinking maybe that little mangled, furry body was a sign that I should teach him about death today, while I’m thinking about it and while this squirrel is conveniently available for my lesson.  But the janitor was quick.  Squirrely was gone when we walked back to the car.

The lizard is still in my driveway though, so what should I do?  Am I thinking about this too much?

I’m good at pondering death.  If you’re a regular reader, you well know my preoccupation with the dearly departed.

I’m open to suggestions on this one though.

How, and when, do any of you recommend telling an autistic child about death?

Comment below to let me know.  Extra credit if it rhymes.  🙂

♥♥

3 thoughts on “Death?

  1. This comes up a lot in kindergarten. The thing is, I don’t think I “know” about death. I mean I’m a grown up, I know all the culturally appropriate things to say, but I have no idea what happens to the spark when we die. I haven’t found a religious belief that makes sense to me. And in my dreams, my Dad and my Grama and my two dead step fathers are always coming back. When that happens, I always feel sort of embarrased, kind of, “Oh, I thought you were dead. How silly of me.” So I think deep down, I don’t believe they are gone at all.
    The only thing I really believe is that death means we are out of our bodies. We won’t come “awake,” as the kinders often ask about our guinea pig that died recently. I think that might be a good place to start with your son. I might wait until he is confronted by something dying – if you just show him a dead lizard, the significance of it might not grab his attention.
    Let me know how this works out.

  2. There once lived a lizard in our yard
    Who met an untimely end by my car
    How do I know it’s dead?
    Why, it’s the flat shape of its head
    And its guts splayed out on the ground: gnar-gnar!

    Seriously though, I was sad too when I saw it. I like our lawn-lizards.

  3. Becky,

    I don’t get to read your blog everyday, but I try to catch up when I get a chance. This afternoon, I read your blog about death. I want to address my beliefs on death. We have known each other since 1993. Imagine that~Wow~that is a long time!

    You know that I am a Christian, and I believe in God. The Bible says in John 3:16, (New International Version), “For God so Loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Bible also says in II Corinthians 5:8, (King James Version), “We are confident, I say, and willing to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” I believe that The Bible is God’s Word. What this means to me is that once we die, if we are a Christian, meaning Christ lives in our heart, that we will be with Him in Heaven. You know that I have lost people close to me in my lifetime. You were even with me when I found out about one of them. I know that I will see them again in Heaven when I die and go to be with the Lord because I know that they Loved the Lord and He was Lord of their Life.

    I know that we spoke when I lived in California about you going to your mother’s Methodist Church when you were little. I remember that you said ya’ll would have tuna fish sandwiches for lunch after church. It is my hope that you will ask Jesus into your heart, if you have not already done so. I want us to live forever together in Heaven. We will have an eternity.

    About when to tell your son about death. Olivia was confronted with death when she was 2 1/2. I had to explain to her then about death when Cochise died of cancer. I don’t remember Mitch not knowing about death. Scott has lost his dad and a brother, and we are open with our kids about death. Olivia is a Christian, so I feel that she understands probably a little more than Mitch does. I will pray that you will know the correct time to talk to Thomas about ‘death’. I Love You, My Friend!

    God Bless,

    Traci

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