Following the dreadful shootings in Tucson nearly two weeks ago, many people have been discussing how to deal with children’s’ questions about death and disasters, especially when children or young people are involved. Honesty goes a long way, as do attempts at reassurance. The perceptions of very young children often mean that they cannot conceive of people being gone forever from their lives. That may make it hard to convince them about what death of a relative or friend will mean for their future. But, older children have issues, too. My elder daughter (a mere 23) and I have been dealing with a fair amount of grief this past week.
As I pondered how to deal with the questions that came from my first grade daughter about the deaths in Tucson, my college graduate daughter had to deal with questions of a different sort, as two of her high school class mates died during the past two weeks. The most recent, whom she had known since pre-school, had been suffering from lung cancer, and his story is nicely retold on McLean Patch. We know that our words can only go a short way to help those closest to the departed, but the words and visits all count. We saw that vividly last night as we took ourselves to visit Will Stephenson’s parents, whom we have known for nearly 20 years, as neighbours and friends. What was so refreshing was that everything is being done to celebrate the rich life of their son: friends are compiling pictures and music that will provide a fitting memorial during the service this coming weekend.
I wont try to be more eloquent here, and just use this post as a tribute to a brave and charming young man. Last night, as we looked over pictures of his short life, we instantly recalled so much that should help us enjoy each and every day that we live.
There are never enough hugs one can give to another person. We gave a lot last night and will keep giving them.