Wednesday, March 09, 2005

kids & death concept

Yesterday, I was in Sainsburys (local supermarket) to stock up on some Pringles and Mars bars. As I was surveying the soft drinks section, a small girl of about 6 came along and stood next to me. Her mum was on her other side, trying to figure out whether she should buy the 6 pack or the bottled option.

Both of them were dressed rather weirdly. Well, the girl was wearing a white shirt, with a black blazer and black skirt, with her stockings up to her knees. Probably just finished school. Her mum was wearing almost the same thing. Black skirt with a black jacket and black heels. Who the hell wears heels to go grocery shopping?

The girl wanted to pick up a small can of Coke (don't know if they have it in Malaysia...its even smaller than the usual 330ml). Instead of asking her mum whether she could get it...she did something damn weird...she asked me. I thought she was mistaken at first cause I was standing on her left, while her mum was on her right. I ignored her at first, but she kept staring at me before repeating, "Can I have one?" I smiled and said," Sure you can...but you gotta ask your mum first." Her mum laughed,"You silly girl...take it, but only one."

What was more interesting out of the whole situation was how they were dressed. Like as though they just went to a funeral....all they needed were some black hats and the costume would have been complete.

That got me thinking..........I always read in story books and random stories about how kids deal with the concept of death. You can surmise from all those stuffs that people make out kids to be innocent and naive. We somehow assume that they do not understand the concept of it. Whether their pet dog died, or grandma died....adults usually explain it to them with loose terms like :

1) Lassie has gone to sleep.
2) Grandma has gone to a better place...with Lassie.
3) Grandpa will not be around us anymore.....but he's gone to heaven to meet Grandma.

You know...stuffs like that.

Me thinks.........that's a damn stupid thing to tell a kid. My first dog died when I was 5. (He was actually poisoned. The following week, my neighbour's dog got poisoned too. Few days after that, some fuckers climbed over my neighbour's gate while they were watching tv and took a shit load of stuffs.)

I remember coming home from school and asking my mum where Tiger was. My mum just told me. No bullshit about going to sleep. No bullshit about better place. She told me everything. Some bad people threw some food over the wall. Tiger ate it, and got very sick in the morning. Took him to the vet but it was too late. He was dead. I remember taking a shower immediately after that....which lasted only 2 minutes cause I was scared that Tiger's ghost would come and disturb me. However....that was the last of it.

You argue...that's a dog. How can I compare a dog to a human (like grandma)? But I believe kids don't make the same distinction. Something beloved died all the same. I was upset.....I loved that dog. (My feelings for dogs are now very different though). Point is...I was glad my mum told me straight to the face what had happened.

Imagine :

Mum : Tiger has gone to sleep.
Kid : When will he wake up?
Mum : He won't wake up.
Kid : Why won't he wake up...he always wakes up.
Mum : He is real tired.
Kid : I'll wake him up. He'll want to play with me.

bla bla bla...And it would never end...until you tell the kid the damn truth, which would then make it even worse.

I think...if there's ever a time a kid has to grow up and learn about life, it is times like those where such experiences would prove to be an invaluable lesson.


Hi Vincent
Always said I won't leave anonymous notes but it's 2am and I am feeling suspiciously emotional after reading your archived entry about missing your family during CNY. I know it's not CNY now but I guess that feeling of missing out has only just hit home. Usually I am not such an emotional twerp who leaves anonymous comments in someone's blog, but I have been reading your blog on and off, and being in the UK myself, I do miss home. Most of the time though, I think I have gotten so used to trying to conceal that fact that sometimes I actually tell myself that I don't miss home all that much and that I have found a second home of sorts here. Truth is, I do miss home, and entries like yours remind me how much. I'll probably feel very silly tomorrow morning (I am supposed to get up in 5 hours' time) but it's hard to sleep when your mind's getting all emotional. Sometimes I don't know what to do about many things, so many things that I don't know where to begin trying, but ignoring those feelings sometime seem so much easier, don't you think.


under normal circumstances, a 5 yr old wuldnt understand death no matter how u explain it, their questions will be endless (as u hv pointed out) i.e. where is hell/heaven? why cant we go there and get him/her back?

kids will have all the time to grow up nad learn abt life, why saddle them wif grief (tho it culd be valuable lesson) so soon..


ahh sometimes parents think their kids are just to young to understand the concept of death, or they still want their kids to have the innocence.. that the world is a nice place to live in.. before the kids step into the real world and come to realise the concept of death.

it's the same as the case where a 3-year old kid asking about the process of childbirth and reproduction.


Lessie went to hell! Dancing with the Devil and Sadam Hussien.

Kancil Killer: ROTFLMFAO

anonymous dude : u can read this as well - http://vbglau.blogspot.com/2004/06/shower-thoughts.html btw...do i know you? (obviously you don't have to answer that) take care dude.

vader : i disagree. i think they would understand it if adults didnt riddle it with metaphors and such.

munkit : childbirth...same thing! but obviously explain it in a way that kids would understand. no need to tell them about HOW to do it.

KK : lassie can't dance. she got knocked down by a car and has only 3 functional legs


When my grandpa died, my parents told me straight up, they said: "Atuk dah meninggal" and I thought, "meninggal apa?".. Then they said, "Atuk dah mati".. then I saw my grandmother crying, and it all made sense..

i encountered my first death at 5 too. my grandpa died and my mom told me straight that he died and that i ought to behave myself, don't giggle and don't poke the corpse, otherwise she would pray to grandpa and his ghost would visit me at night. scary shit i tell u..

uhmir and kimberly : I think...like you said. Its scary and hard at first, but you soon figure out what its all about.

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