A couple of days ago I took Ojas for his first play “Suar Chala Space“. The play was about animals, spaceships aliens and swine flu It was more or less a fun play with loads of dance and music. Cubby and Ojas who went along seem to enjoy the play somewhat, laughing inbetween sometimes because they got the joke and sometimes because everyone else was laughing Lots of learning about friendship, caring, standing upto your mistakes etc. I totally loved the play, the way it was done perfectly suited for kids I would say. All in all I think I was pretty happy with his first introduction to theatre.
What left me thinking however was one scene in the play, when a buffalo falls sick and dies. The whole act by all means was underplayed. There was no drama or lot of crying involved but I observed that suddenly Ojas’s mood has kind of changed. He has quietened and was looking really sad. I asked him what happened and could see one small teardrop in the corner of his eye and with a very feeble voice he asked me “Mumma why she died”. It made me still for a moment, my heart alternating between pacing and stopping that only a mother can understand… that did my not even 4 yr old understood death? Did he realise that its something wrong? Does he know that we have to be sad when someone dies? I recomposed myself a little and told she wasn’t well and hence she died, he thought and asked me again “Why didn’t she go to a doctor, if she wasn’t feeling well?”. I tried to answer, however the act changed and the music and dance started again catching his attention and he was back to his laughing self in a minute
It left me thinking though, is it time to start talking to him about Life and Death? Touchwood, we haven’t had a death in the close family but life is cruel and you don’t know what it presents you the next minute do you? This was a play, how do you explain stuff like this to kids? I remember my grandma telling me that people become stars and go to the sky when they die, Its such a beautiful idea isn’t it? I know its not true but since my granny died I still like to believe that she is up there as a star looking over me and I can still raise my head and look at her, may be a smile will be passed between us a twinkle
But yeah all these dreamy and emotional ideas apart, tell me god forbid did you go through a need to talk to your kids about death? How did you explain to them? Do you recommend any books that can be read to them? What is the best age one can start talking to them about life and death?