Standing at the Gateway of Life and Death

Posted By on April 16, 2012

My husband’s maternal grandfather was said to have only days to live as he had not drank or eaten for some time. My husband decided to go visit him in midweek. After we announced it to the children at dinner, Clayon (7) asked if he could go too. Cameron and I said we would talk about it and let him know in the morning.

In our discussion, appropriateness came up and how much a child needs to know or see of death. What we decided was this: Death is as part of life as birth. It is a blessing to be present at a birth and it is a blessing to be present at a death, both are gateways to and from our world. Not anyone is invited to be a witness. It’s a sacred time and space. How special that Clayton was interested in standing at the gateway of life and death for his last living great grandfather and give his farewell. As long as we did not hold death with fear or trepidation, neither will he.

Cameron reported to me that when Clayton first saw his great grandfather, he was silent and shy, as he is with most people at first.

The only sign of life was great grandpa’s light breathing. Cameron told Clayton that when someone is dying, their last sense to go is their hearing.

So Clayton walked to his bedside and spoke softly these few simple words: “Hawo gweat gwampa. I wuv you.”

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.


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