My daughter is 5 years old and already she understands ebb and flow is a natural part of life–Grandma won’t be here forever, neither will Mommy, nor will she. Despite her tender age, I encourage her to make the best use of what she has right now, especially relationships! This is not complicated, it’s very much like chatting about how a plant comes into the world as a seed, blooms, and eventually withers.
I don’t want her to fear situations beyond her control, especially since we are all destined to accept the inevitable. Recently, I watched the 2006 PBS documentary “A Lion in the House” about children living with cancer and the impact heroic measures taken by their parents had on the short lives of these children. I can’t say what I’d do in that situation but the visuals remain.
Do you discuss impermanence or even the D word (dying, death) with your children, if so how, and why?
There is a national pre-occupation of near obsessive level for conditioning women over the age of 30 to believe that they are old. Finally, sometime around age 65, these women learn the truth. Trouble is, they can’t get the word out because everyone else is conditioned to ignoring them.
There’s something about beholding aging, worn, or just plain old, but well made things that makes my skin tingle with a feeling very close to that of romantic love. Their aesthetic beauty and functionality are amazing in a way that many recently manufactured things (insert big box store here) are not. Moreover, things from an earlier era typically were made by artisans–created with pride and intended to stand the test of time. Each one with its own story, and evoking memories associated with its particular acquisition. That is why I frequent musems and antique stores. It is with this gentle perspective I observe the marks time etches on the faces of elders–and feel a deep respect, tenderness, and appreciation at my core for their simply being here.