Explaining mortality and dealing with the death of a loved one is a situation I’d like to avoid going through with Max for as long as possible, but I know it’s entirely out of my hands. One of our close friends (and Max’s aunt by appointment) has her mother in Intensive care right now, and it will be a tense few days as she waits to see if her mom will improve.
As much as I want to shield my boy from profound sadness, I can’t isolate him away from the essential parts of human existence. Instead, I have to examine my own feelings for this wonderful woman who is perilously ill, and sort out how I’m going to deal with her loss.
Its one of the secret challenges/blessings of parenthood: you no longer have the luxury of being crippled by your own emotions. No matter how sad you are, toddlers keep toddling along, and you have to keep moving with them. In my case, this emotional immediacy has been the catalyst for a pretty significant amount of improvement in how I deal with my own feelings and my old hangups. I’m able to handle situations now that I would have gone to great lengths to avoid in the past, and I know it makes me a better parent.