Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A first lesson in mortality for my young child

Over the last few days I've come to realise the fish episode taught Esme a great lesson in life. Her first in mortality. 

Death is a toughie for a child to comprehend. But if they have to go through it at an early age, then the passing of a goldfish is a good first time experience to help them understand the concept that not all things live in our world forever. 

I felt touched, that Esme was not only happy to have Fred the second swimming energetically about the bowl, but that she clearly felt some form of allegiance to Fred the first; for she told me that she was still a little sad about what had happened to him. 

To help with this, and at the good advice of a friend, Esme drew a picture of her and Fred the first, to keep him company under the sunflower. It gave her an understanding that his spirit lives on, even though he is in a box underneath the sunflower in the garden. 

So as twee as it may appear to be (being a fish and all), I actually think the whole experience of Fred's passing has helped my precious 4yo girl understand the concept of death. Helped her to realise that living things do come to an end. And that when that happens, their body is disposed of and their spirit lives on.

Fundamentally, it'll definitely do for now, and then, when she is older, she can make up her own mind as to heaven... hell... religion... spirituality and the such.


Judith Kingston said...

Thank goodness her first brush with death was with a beloved goldfish and not a person. And I like the fact that Fred the first got a proper send off, rather than being chucked in the bin and Fred the second being passed off as Fred the first.

Emma Oliver said...

I know, it's all been so important to her. Surprisingly so. It is a wonder how you think you know your kids so well, and then they go and say or do something that astonishes you completely. I love that.

Sara Murray said...

A very valuable lesson, and although terribly sad to lose her pet, hopefully a less painful introduction to the concept and associated feelings/thoughts/ideas x #PoCoLo

Emma Oliver said...

Thanks Sara, my thoughts entirely x

Tori Wel said...

I definitely think that this would help. Grace lost her paternal grandmother when she was 4. It was hard to explain but over time she has understood more and sometimes gets sad but I tell her that this is OK. Thanks for being a valued supporter of PoCoLo xx