Today I received a sad email from my youngest son’s school. It was sent out to let parents know that a former student had passed away from a rare auto immune disease and that the school would be honoring this child next week.
I asked my son about the student when he arrived home from school…as the name sounded familiar. He replied that was his friend…and I could see the wheels in his mind starting to work. He started asking me questions..about what he died from, when did he die, what happened. I replied as honestly as I could…and told him that he could certainly ask his principle or his school counselor any more questions tomorrow.
This isn’t the first time we have discussed death. My son has told me, in casual conversation, about the infants that would die back in the orphanage in Africa…how they would get sick and just die. He said he saw a lot of dead babies and kids. I’m quite certain this is true. It’s only some of the tragic memories he has of his early years there.
Just now we watched a contestant on “America’s Got Talent” sing a song, dedicated to his son that he lost to pediatric cancer. My son turned to me and started asking more questions about his friend that just passed away. Clearly, he is still mulling this over….clearly this is still bothering him. He is sitting on the couch, his proud, stoic face watching the television…but inside I know he is really thinking about his friend.
I am so grateful that my son has empathy and compassion…especially given his early years. I am sad that he is sad…but happy that he is capable of feeling this emotion…as odd as that may sound.
I am grateful he is healthy. I am grateful he is my son.
I am grateful.