This afternoon, I received word that one of my students lost her father to an accident.
My own father died when I was six and I remember every single moment of it all: from the phone call that my mother received, to the car ride where I closed my eyes and prayed for the first time, to my mother’s keening wail upon reaching the hospital and finding out that he didn’t make it, to being fearful of my father’s lifeless body, to the sobs that overwhelmed my little body at the funeral.
I remember it all and I was merely six.
And here is this young person, all of eighteen and more lucid than a child of six would be.
In a way, perhaps it was a good thing that we lost him when we were so much younger. The memories faded quicker, life moved on faster, the kids did not dwell upon the death for too long. We couldn’t, because we didn’t have as many memories or regrets. And we couldn’t, because the concept of death was not something we comprehended fully.
What did I know of death at six?
My heart is heavy for my student. I grieve with her. I cannot stop feeling sad. I just…can’t.
It’s hard. Especially now that I am a wife and a mother. How can I bear the thought of leaving my child behind? Or losing my husband?
And this is why I tell my son that I love him, every single day. Before he goes to bed, I tell him that I love him and he repeats “love you mama” back at me. And this makes my heart feel reassured.
That if anything should happen to me, at least he knows that he is loved by me and he is reminded of that, every single day.