Today I was forced into a conversation with him about "what if Mommy dies" and I can honestly tell you it was one of the most challenging conversations I have ever had to have. He is only seven, this isn't something he should have to worry about. However, this is our life. This is what we live everyday. I had to be honest with him.
The conversation came up when we were passing a cemetery. On the right side of the road was a typical cemetery with headstones, flowers, etc. On the left side of the street was still part of the cemetery but it looked different. There were trees and signs through out it. It looked like a nice garden to take a stroll through. Wylee asked what it was. I told him that I thought it was a place for people to put remains if they are cremated. He immediately told me he didn't like cremated people. This brought up questions on my end, as I plan to be cremated. I wanted to know why he was so scared of the idea and if he even knew what it meant. He told me that he thought it was like a ghost graveyard for all the dead bodies.
This discussion led into the fact that I wanted to be cremated when I die and what exactly that means. I told him that instead of being in a casket and buried in the ground or a mausoleum as he has seen with our family at previous services I would be turned to ash. Thankfully he didn't ask how that process happened, I don't know if I was ready for that discussion. He asked me lots of good questions about why I would want that, where my ashes would go and I thought we were finished with the discussion.
When passing through the same cemetery on the way home he asked me why I would want my "body shredded up" and I was confused for a moment until i realized that is what he was envisioning a cremation being like. I told him then that I wanted for my body to be able to be spread in some place special to me. Maybe in the water, he asked if he could take his kayak there and I let him know that was a great idea and exactly the type of attitude I wanted about this. I want my body to live on in a place that I love.
We discussed that part of my ashes could also remain at home and we could pick out a special container for him. His sweet little seven year old mind was worried that people might make fun of him. He worried what would happen if he wanted to take me to school. What would his friends say? What would life be like? While we were on this topic I told him that there were special people that could design things out of blown glass using the ashes and that we could get him a special necklace that contained part of the ashes so he could always have me with him and he wouldn't have to tell anyone if he didn't want to. He was very happy with this option.
Our next conversation was why he was worried mommy was going to die. He explained that he is worried that my cancer is never going to go away. This is a legitimate concern, I've always been upfront with him about this. I explained to him that right now he doesn't have to worry about that because there are a lot of medicines that are made so that I can spend as much time with him as possible. I told him if it ever got the point that I was worried about leaving him we would talk about it again but until then not to worry.
I want to apologize to his teachers now. I know that I have received phone calls at night before from teachers who were heartbroken at how Wylee explained my cancer. I can only imagine what will be coming from him now that we discussed cremation and my cancer not going away. I can only picture him later in life carrying around a necklace with my ashes. I can only imagine. I want to thank all the adults who are there for my son and allow him to express his genuine concerns and allow an open dialogue. As you see, this is his normal. This is our life.
He was sure to ask me tonight as I took my medicine if it was still working. I'm thankful everyday for this amazing, understanding, and wonderful son I have.