I GUESS THAT’S WHEN I UNDERSTOOD WHAT MY GRANDFATHER WAS TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO ME. THAT MY LIFE WAS BIGGER THAN THE LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD I LIVED IN. AND THAT THESE STRANGERS WHO SURROUNDED ME WEREN’T JUST RELATIVES, THEY WERE MY FAMILY. AND THE DEATH OF ONE AFFECTED EACH OF US IN SOME WAY…

Posted on October 20, 2009

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now that silly monkey is getting older and wiser and all talky and stuff, i occasionally find myself at a loss of words.  no… not that i can’t figure out things to say.  i can ALWAYS find things to say.  [i once spoke for 10 minutes about brooms in a very unnecessary speech class (brooms are made of straw BLAHBLAHBLAH and witches ride on brooms BLAHBLAHBLAH…)].  BUT, sometimes, silly monkey surprises me and i just can’t get the right words out.

take, for instance, the time our fish “cookie” died.  silly monkey found him floating at the top of his bowl and asked what was wrong with him…

cookie died.
why?
b/c he… uhhhh…  cookie was sick.
why was he sick, mommy?  why did he die?
b/c he was sad.

so yea, that was the time i told my child that things die when they’re sad.  any guesses on what happened when our second fish “cookie” (yes, he named the second fish “cookie”, as well) died?

mommy, cookie died.
he did.
b/c he was sad.

grrr… i know!  think before you speak, d, think think think!!

the death talk has gradually gotten better, especially with regards to my mom.  i want him to know her and understand that she isn’t here anymore b/c she died, not b/c she decided to go away, even though i would prefer to turn back time and have her go on some amazing extended trip instead of permanently away away.  he does ask about her often and tells me that she is his “favorite girl” (after me, of course).  he doesn’t understand death and i really don’t expect him to understand death and really really don’t want him to understand death (yet), but he does get that she is gone and not coming back.

when i told him about my grandmother passing away, he, on his own, related it to his grandma dying.  it was shocking.  but maybe i just don’t give my genius baby enough credit.  he’s a smart monkey.  a very smart monkey.  and he remembers things.  lots & lots of things, which is a blessing and curse all in itself.  in fact, he remembered that his uncle told him that he is korean b/c his grandma is korean and even though he swears he is a boy and not korean, he remembered that his grandma is korean b/c he told me so…

my grandma died.
yes, she did.
my grandma died.  like cookie.  b/c she is korean.
well, that’s not why she died.  but, yes, she is korean.
why did my grandma die?
b/c she was sick.
like cookie?
grandma had a big ouchie on her brain.
inside her head?
yes.
and she had a hole on her head.
yes.
and no hair.
that’s right. they put a hole on her head so the doctor could fix the ouchie on her brain.
you have hair. so you are not sick. and i have hair. so i am not sick.

that last conversation left me in near tears.  thank goodness it was right before bed b/c i booked out of his room to sit in five minutes of silence.  he may be a genius monkey, but my mom’s story is not really a story i’m ready to tell him or even a story he’d be willing to sit through considering i can barely get him to sit through a 30 minute cartoon without him jumping out of his seat and declaring that he needs to build a new train track.

of course, we’ll sit and have the conversation when he’s old enough to understand that hair may or may not have anything to do with illness.  and at that time, i’ll probably cry my eyes out while he looks at me with his beautiful big brown eyes like i’ve lost my mind.

but then again, he surprises me now, so he’ll probably surprise me then.

** post title = wonder years, “who’s aunt rose” [4.13]

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