Subtle, you chase the vigor from the vine.
So there's a mother tonight that waits for her little girl to die, she has an inoperable brain tumor and the family members have been involved in a two year struggle with normalcy. I am thinking of them, and the mothers around the world that will watch their babies take their last breath in their arms. Babies that are sick, hungry, born without the privilege of the right to live. Babies that will die for preventable reasons. Babies that will die because they do not have supplies that cost less than my latte'. Babies that are forgotten, that will die nameless or faceless as those who loved them die as well.
I cannot understand how they do it. I would see this little blonde girl, giggling and playing-given a year or two to live, and I would break down inside. Time after time, and could not imagine this family carrying on with what must certainly be an inner hell. And one day I saw the sister, looking long and hard at her. I wondered what this little child was thinking. "Will my sister be dead soon?" Heartbreaking. And they couldn't help but talk about it. No one ever knew what to say to this mother. Ask about the child? Offer to help?
I considered the little girl. To be five and know that your time is limited, the kinds of thoughts are hard for me to imagine. One day the kids talked about teachers for the upcoming year, and paused, not wanting to say that she would likely not be there. Realizing the obvious omission, an older child tried to help by ignoring that possibility and began to talk about the future anyway until this tiny little mouth opened and cut her off. And what she said made me shiver.
"I have a terminal illness, which means I will die. I don't even go to school anymore."
The family had been given the right to withdraw her, and over the next few months she became dependent on tubes and equipment. She stopped going outside. She stopped eating regular food. And soon she would stop breathing. Probably in her mother's arms.
How do we talk to little ones about death? My children ask about it, and I am hard pressed to know what to say. I gave up organized religion long ago, and my fumbling spirituality does little to feed me the words I need to take the sting out of an honest death talk.
Never Pink asked about organ donation, and if I was a donor and I said I was, that it was written on my license. I told her why. That I figured some of my parts could be given away.
Always Pink asked where our brains go, and if our brains could be donated too. Then she asked if the new person, receiving the transplant, would get her ideas.
She decided that this would be helpful, because if she died and somebody else got her brain, they could then proceed to do all of the things that she couldn't do. She was hoping that they could take this girl's brain and help her dreams live. But who could they give it to?
Never Pink, older sister, chimed in that her particular brain had a tumor. There was no way to save her ideas.
Which is why there is this problem in the first place, and so it would not help to put her brain elsewhere.
They wanted to know why they couldn't just get a brain then and solve the problem. I had to tell them that brain transplants have not been successful, but that maybe someday this could be an option for people. But not for a very long time.
Always PInk started to cry. "I don't want to die."
Destructo stated that he did not want to "get dead either".
Never Pink told them that we die to make room for more people. That somebody died to make room for us, and that when we go, we will make room for the next batch of kids. Always pink wanted to know why we couldn't just leave the world as it is. NOT make room for any more. And just stay.