Punk Rock Parents: Tough Conversations

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tough Conversations

There are many of The Phi's classmates who have been with her since she was 3 years old. A few weeks ago we heard some tragic news about one of those classmates, her father was killed in a car accident. As horrible as that is, it gets worse. The father was a single-dad and not just to Phi's classmate, but to a 4 year old girl as well. The news was devastating. I had just seen him in the parking lot at the local pool, and we also ran into them at the movies over the summer. For years I saw him dropping off his kids at school, at school functions and at classmates birthday parties. Raising his 2 girls alone. And just one day, driving home from work to pick up his girls, he's gone. And these 2 girls are left alone. Every single-parents nightmare I am sure. The Phi's kindergarten teacher has stepped up and has the girls for now, until the courts decide what to do. The whole situation is heartbreaking and it is impossible to think about without hurting for these girls.

Joey and I decided not to tell The Phi about what happened and we didn't until the other day. I spoke with the teacher who has the girls and I asked her if I should tell The Phi. She thought it would be a good idea, since Phi's classmate would be coming back to school and has become very matter of fact about telling people about her Dad. Instead of The Phi hearing the news from her classmates and trying to process it on her own I decided I should be the one to tell her. In a way that she understood, but that didn't scare her.

I remember first understanding the concept of mortality. I was much older than 7, but it scared me. I still tend to worry a lot. You try to assume that the people you love, and yourself, will live a long life and die at 100+ peacefully in their sleep. But car accidents happen, and bad things happen, and sometimes your body fails you and people are taken much too soon. I remember my Mom once telling me how much she didn't like it when my sisters and I went somewhere in a car together. The idea that one accident could take all 3 of her children was in the back of her mind.

I needed to explain what happened to Phi without making her paranoid, or stressed out. I went with a direct approach. I told her that her friends Dad had died in a car accident. She told me that she was so sad and that she might cry. I told her it was okay to cry if she wanted to and that I had cried when I heard the news. She asked me why I cried and I told her that I was sad that her friend lost her Dad. I told her that her friend might want to talk about it and might not want to talk about it. That Phi should be there for her because her friend would need her. After we talked The Phi immediately got on her knees by her bed and prayed for her friend.

The Phi hasn't brought it up since. But I am here and ready for any questions or reassuring she might need.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Its great knowing someone so young can feel in her heart to turn to GOD at a time like this.
    your doing a great job, Alice

    ReplyDelete