Kids and death.  Okay, guys.  Here’s how I talk to Jeremiah about death.

I tell him that I don’t have all the answers.

I tell him that it makes me scared too.

And when someone we love inevitably dies, I won’t hide my tears from him.

Because I want to give him permission to cry (and feel anything he needs to feel).  And I’ll give him permission by leading by example.

I’ll respect the uniqueness of his grief.

I won’t project my fears onto him.  

I won’t project my experience onto his.

I’ll let him experience all his feelings, while reassuring him that I’m there for him if he needs me. . . not as an expert on death or grief, but as a brother in his grief because his love and his grief are just as valid as mine.

I’ll let him decide whether or not he sees the body of the deceased (but I’ll gently encourage him to see it because tough and hard things aren’t the same as bad things).

I talk about death with him now.

I’ve let him know that someday I’ll die and his mom will die, but that every time we love each other a piece of us gets embedded in him.

And I’ll fight — and fight as hard as I can — for his dreams because we only get one shot at life.

I won’t keep his own mortality a secret.  I’ll let him know how wonderful and frightening this journey can be, but it’s a journey we can walk together.

I’ll show my love to him as smartly and as often as I can because I know how fast time flies and how short life is.

And I’ll let him move our caskets from our storage garage because pushing caskets down the sidewalk can be weird and fun all at the same time.

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