It has been several days since I wrote about Daniel’s Death Anxiety. I received some great suggestions through a fb comment feed. It is through a private group so I will not expose the people who shared, but I was so thankful for the positive and confirming comments. They helped me a great deal in how to approach the situation. My biggest concern for Daniel was that this would turn into an obsessive fear, which could cause him to loop and create even more fear.
I did not “harp” on topic.
I took my cues from him. We discussed the different perspectives that people have about death. He did have many more questions. However, his main issue was about him no longer moving. The thought of never moving again seemed to send panic through him. He was able to move past that, but he was still scripting to himself. He did bring it up a few times throughout the week. He asked if death was like dreaming. I thought that was a good idea and told him that it could be. I really liked that thought, he did too.
I explained to him several times that I could not give him the exact answers about death.
A few times, I noticed him staring off with a face that looked somewhat worried. Every time I asked him if he was alright, he would say, “I am ok. I know I have to die, but I do not want to die. But it is ok to die. I do not need to worry.” I had a feeling that he was thinking about it. Lately, the leaves have been falling off the trees and Daniel will sit, looking out of his window watching the leaves fall. He has used this to calm himself down on several occasions when he has gotten upset or overloaded. Later coming in saying, “Mom, I stared at the leaves to calm myself down. Now I am calm.”
This is a huge thing for him, since he has relied on me for so long to be his only comfort.
As he was watching leaves yesterday, he asked me why the leaves fell. It gave me the opportunity to go through the life cycle of trees. In one of the fb comments, it was suggested that we could plant a tree or plant in memory of the dead, and work through the mourning process. (I am paraphrasing here. ) With that suggestion in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to collect leaves and discuss everything in a positive light. I was very confused; I still am about where the anxiety came from. However, I tend to have things “all the sudden” pop up that seem to be out of nowhere – to me it is a very logical process… to others not so much.
The tree life cycle discussion seemed to help ease his mind a little more.
We have a collection of leaves that he has been talking about all day. He has been repeating to me the life cycle of a tree and how we go through a life cycle too. Now he believes that we will come back just like the leaves on the trees. I am not at liberty to disagree. I do not know what happens to us. I do not have the definitive answers. My perspectives have changed all throughout my life and I am sure they will continue. As one commenter said, she had always thought about death, there was not a time she could remember that she did not. The same goes for me.
Since a child, I have pondered death.
It led me into the supernatural, religion, philosophy, and science. I am an obsessive learner and full of curiosity. I know that all of my kids are the same. The only thing is that I have never had to explain it to another person who I could mold and shape in a positive or negative way. No one ever answered my questioned or engaged my thoughts when I brought these things up. It could explain why I was reading Edgar Allan Poe at age nine and obsessed with serial killers for the majority of my life. Among other things.
I am so grateful to have people to share this with to help me along this journey.
As a child and adult, I have been left to try to figure these things out on my own, creating irrational fears, or horrible negative loops. I want to try my best to help my kids not go through that and be able to find a healthy perspective about the unknown. I know that some of it may not be able to be eliminated due to brain chemistry. Or how their brains may be wired, but as long as they feel validated in what they are feeling, know that everything is open for discussion without judgment, and no matter what that they are accepted I believe it will help them in many areas. I am sure there will be more death discussions.
That is fine with me, especially when I know that others can relate and share so openly!
One of the commenters shared a couple of books as well, that I will link to. They looked like good resources. I am going to get them from the library. If any of you who commented read this I just want to say thanks again, you helped Daniel and me so much!
Daniel talked to me for quite a while about his leaves today. He shared with me how they spin differently and as well as other things. I am sharing the video I took today. Daniel’s Spinning Leaves His language has developed so much even in the last six months. He asked me to put the pictures on his blog too. He asked me to start a blog for him a few days ago so he could put pictures of things he likes. He likes to sit and look at pictures, for him to ask for a specific place of his own to put his own pictures on is awesome! I will go ahead and share Joshua’s too because he started one for his Lego creations, and Ariel ‘s. (Even though I have shared it before.)
This October is turning out to be one of the best ever!