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I'm a wife and mom to three boys. I love everything 80's, anything chocolate and loathes politics. I like to run for fun (preferably NOT in the hot, hot sun)....

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Death and the Six-Year-Old Boy

When I sat Timmy down a couple of Saturdays ago and told him that his dzia dzia (grandfather) had died all I got out of him was an 'okay'. There were no tears and no other questions or reactions. It was just 'okay'. Now I know that death is a hard concept for a six-year-old to grasp, but I thought I'd get something out of him. I thought maybe I'd get an 'I'm sad' and while I wasn't expecting waterworks to come out of him...I thought maybe he'd get that one lone teardrop grazing down his face. But was still just 'okay'.

The day after his dzia dzia died, Timmy - out of the blue - would say every so often, 'Dzia dzia is dead.' After about the third time that he said it, I asked him if he wanted to talk about his dzia dzia. He just shook his head no and went on about playing with his legos. I thought maybe this was his way of grieving and understanding...

However, six-year-olds are pretty peculiar creatures and can be somewhat hard to read sometimes. So I began to second-guess the whole idea that he could really comprehend what was going on when...
  1. During the viewing I caught Timmy trying to stick his finger in his dzia dzia's ear.
  2. The boys like to get the big phonebook out and play court with my dad. Well a couple of days after Mr. Ben's death, Timmy was playing court with my dad. Timmy took the phonebook and slammed it on the coffee table. He pointed at my dad and said 'You are guilty!' (The boys always find him guilty.) My dad asked what he was guilty of and Timmy responds with , 'You are guilty of killing my dzia dzia!' Needless to say my dad's face turned bright red and that was the end of that game....

After the whole court situation that happened with my dad , I decided to have a talk with Timmy. What I was going to say to him? I wasn't exactly sure. I just wanted to talk to him. So I decided that I was going to talk with him that very night right before bedtime. While the boys were getting ready for bed I went upstairs and into their messy room. I started to pick some things up from the floor and as I was picking up the boys' sloppily thrown dirty clothes, I looked up and saw two bird trophies sitting on Timmy's dresser.

Here's a little history about the trophies. Timmy has always loved trophies. Before Timmy was ever able to earn his own trophy, Mr. Ben (his dzia dzia) gave Timmy two of his bird show trophies. Timmy displayed the trophies that his dzia dzia gave him for a while until he started to get a couple of his own. To make room for his trophies, he put the two his dzia dzia gave him in the closet. Those trophies stayed in that closet for almost a year...that is...until that very night. Timmy put aside his soccer and tball trophies and replaced them with the two bird trophies that his dzia dzia had given him.. At that very second I came to the conclusion that I didn't have to have a talk with Timmy because...well...he understood.

He understood.

It may be in the six-year-old sense of understanding, but I believe he knows that his dzia dzia is gone. And there is something else I know...

He sure is going to miss his dzia dzia.


Blogger Erin said...

That is so sad :(

7:25 PM  

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