On Death…

Please note: this post is not meant to be depressing, but rather thought-provoking.  I encourage you to think ahead, rather than being caught at the last moment without a plan.  If you find yourself struggling with these ideas, or experiencing emotions that you cannot handle, please seek help.  There are nearly endless resources online for coping with death and grief, including the Hospice Foundation Of America

 

…you told your kids what?!

Yes.  My children know about death.  Is that weird?

 The reality is that in life, there is death.  Pets die, friends die, parents die and sadly, children die.  No one escapes life alive.  Regardless of your faith (or whatever beliefs/non-beliefs you may have) we all generally agree that you physically die at some point.  How do you explain that to a child?

Everyone has their own parenting style, and no one knows your child as well as you do, but how many cats can “run away” and how long can second-cousin Ethell be gone on “vacation” before the kids start to notice something is up?  Maybe you plan on waiting until you bury fluffy in the back yard before you explain death to your kids, and that’s fine, but don’t wait until fluffy is cold in the ground to start thinking about what you might say.

As a military family, it is in your face.  Everyday.  Your friends, neighbors and coworkers perform a high-risk job and one of those risks is death.  (Not to say that many other are not also performing jobs with high mortality rates, and to you I tip my hat.)

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Black Hills National Veterans Cemetery

It’s awkward.  It’s unnerving.  It’s complicated.  People have different beliefs than you do.  Families mourn differently than yours.  You don’t know what to say because it might upset someone…  Stop for a minute and think: do you even know what your own feelings are when it comes to death?

Now is the time to think ahead.  I wish no one had to experience death, but we all do, and now might be a good time to sort out your feelings and start a dialogue with your family (kids especially) about what it is and what it means to you.  It will be a lot easier on you and your kids if you aren’t standing at the graveside when your five-year-old blurts out “So he is going to be worm food now?!”  Or listening to the terrified gasp of your 8 year old when s/he realizes that pretty “park” next door contains bodies of the deceased.

My children not only understand death (as much as any 5 and 7 year olds can) but the value of life.  They are beginning to grasp sacrifice and understand the value of our military.  Is it hard?  Yes, sometimes there are questions I don’t really want to answer, but it is better than having my child fear the unknown.  As the “experts” say, answer the question truthfully, but don’t offer any more information than they ask for.

Maybe now is not the time to talk to your kids, maybe it is.  You are the one who knows your children best, and knows the best way to talk to them.  Think about your own beliefs and attitudes now, so you aren’t grasping at straws when they see the funeral procession roll by.  Death doesn’t have to be scary, if you don’t feel confident in talking to your kids, check out your local library or hospice, as they often have books or pamphlets on explaining death to children.  You don’t have to dwell on it, but your kids should know it is okay to talk about it with you if they have any concerns.

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change in momentum…

Goodness I didn’t realize it had been nearly a month since my last post. Shame on me! I was distracted by amazingly addicting Girl Scout cookies and then booth sales.  I think I am still clinging onto a little bitterness after my last mini-vaca from Hell but baby steps right?!
So I am at this point now where there is a shift of momentum. I am not 100% of whether it’s a down or up shift but it’s definitely a shift. Either way I’ll find something to occupy my time but the thing with our lives is that they always are changing and schedules always get rescheduled so it’s just a balancing act. This happens from time to time in between the men’s enlistments or lat moves. Either its a getting over the old command going to the new command, adjusting to the new command and spouses, not wanting to let go of everything back then, fear of change, lack of control, losing friends and starting over to gain new ones, adapting to new surroundings for yourself and children…the list goes on and on in the Marine Corps lifestyle.
It seems as if all my friends are moving (PCS’ing or got out completely), moving away or taking a huge step in their lives. My new friends are doing the same so that is not ideal and pretty sad to meet more outstanding women and then realize they wont be here very long. 
To top it off even though there’s an upcoming deployment I don’t really partake in my unofficial “job” anymore due to unforeseen circumstances which I shall not mention until absolutely necessary so for now I will plead the 5th. Anthony’s doctor appointments are slowing down quite a bit and he’s just working out to the best of his ability so he can try to do a PFT and CFT in hopes the therapist will clear him for full duty again.
Maybe I’m just plain bored. I want to find a better way to give back I want to help wives and moms and anyone who’ll listen about advice on what to do, what not to do and how to prevent a lot of stress and heartache before, during and after not just Afghanistan but deployments in general. I believe being knowledgeable is half the battle. A few friends of mine are in the same boat so hopefully they’ll start blogging with me too to give a different insight into their lives.
This is all such a different road than Anthony and I were on just a few short months ago and it’s an adjustment phase but it will be like that for the next few months I suppose. So I’ll do what I do best I guess and adapt and develop a new routine. Walk the dogs in the morning, pick up after the kids and clean, surf the web a bit, watch stuff on DVR and when the kids get home then they’ll be homework time, dinner, baths and bed. It won’t always go as smoothly as written but I’m hopeful for some cookie cutter days for my sanity. Girl Scouts, Summer Camps, beach days and trips to Texas with everyone including our dogs will keep me going during the summer but what else? Any ideas? Hmmm…Volunteer, go to support groups, garden more, write more, online shop, fish more, watch more Bravo (Real Housewives…)or TLC (Cake Boss, My strange addiction, fatal attractions, Sister Wives..) or Travel shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No reservations & Andrew Zimmerman’s food show..hmmm…lol yep I’m addicted already!!!
What I do know is I need to venture out of my comfort zone more and get out of my shell. Go to more places, see more things, experience San Diego and all it has to offer than just this base. Even though I would like to show the kids a more patriotic side to our family with the Wreath Laying at holidays and MCRD Graduation ceremonies.  We really need to see Catalina Island, Coronado Island, as well as the Man vs. Food places here and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach…lol. Anyone want to come with us?! Crap just forgot I gotta get on this California Mission project due…
Adapt and overcome ladies…cherish the little things and remember your friends along the bumpy and unknown road ahead..