March 4, 2013


The birthday song had been sung. The candles had been blown out. We each had our piece of cake in front of us.

"BaBop is seventy-seven years old," I told SB. "Seven seven." I didn't expect her to quite grasp that, but her response caught me completely off guard.

"When is BaBop going to die?"

I nearly spit out my wine. I was pretty sure I heard her correctly, but wanted to check. I asked, as calmly as I could, "What did you say, sweetie?"

She rephrased the question, perhaps assuming it had not been clear the first time.

"How old will BaBop be when he dies?"

It was awkward, to say the least, to have the conversation in front of my parents, but hubby and I feel it is important to answer these types of questions honestly and with as much grace as possible. So I did.

We've dealt with the subject of death before. Not by choice, but in the best way we could.

"We don't know when that day is going to come," I said. "I hope BaBop will live many more years, but he may not."

Hubby joined in, "It is not something we can predict or control. It happens when it happens."

"But he will die," she said, more statement than question.

"Yes," I replied. "We all die. That is a certainty. When it will happen is the unknown."

My parents were unsure and somewhat dubious as they sat back and observed the conversation from opposite ends of the dining room table.

I explained to them we do not shy away from tough questions, but respect the spirit in which they are asked by our four year-old and do our best to answer in an age-appropriate manner.

My dad chuckled a little, then added, "Well, I plan to hold on as long as I can. Now, let's change the subject."

And we did.

How do you handle these moments?

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