Backpacks and bereavement

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been trying to come to terms with the sudden and unexpected death of my mother-in-law. The daily routine, for what it was, span off the plate and out of the window replaced by hushed tones, guarded conversations and sudden and shorts bursts of tears.

She passed away on Saturday morning. We spent some of Saturday wondering how and when to tell S. This would be her first significant death. The bloody goldfish was still hanging around.

As with all things we decided it was probably best to do some research and take advice from people far more qualified and grownup than us. There are lots of great resources. We decided to tell her on Sunday, allowing some time for us to process the news in the meantime.

Most 7 year olds spend a lot of their time getting into mischief of varying degrees of severity. When we said to S that we wanted to talk to her about something serious and important her face dropped to the floor and I really thought she was about to confess to some major league shenanigans. However, she sat tight lipped but with a worried expression. T delivered the news, summoning strength of character that I’ll never truly be able to thank him enough for. He said it straight and direct. Granny has died. We’re all very sad. We’re not sure what’s happened. It’s ok to be sad too. With that her eyebrows furrowed, she looked to T, then to me and then burst into tears. Big fat, crystal clear tears, the sort that break your heart.

In panic at seeing my daughter so upset and wanting to protect her from anymore sadness I jumped in with a ‘you know that backpack from Smiggle that you wanted for your birthday? Well, Granny wanted you to have that now. She didn’t want you to wait and she wanted you to have it.’ It was the opposite of a text book approach to how to deal with this situation. She wiped her tears away, strapped on her trainers and was ready to go into town. She couldn’t understand what had happened or why. Tbf neither could we. She wanted to know who was going to take her camping, as Granny had promised she would do. We said that we would (shame Granny wasn’t partial to a spa, but there you go).

Watching her as she sat in the back of the car I noticed a far away look in her eyes. Processing such big information it’s hard and difficult.

We spent a fortune at Smiggle, a backpack as well as various pens and general gubbins.

You never really know how much you affect your children in the long run. You try and do the right thing, say the right thing, act in the right way. Fingers crossed we’ll all grow from this experience and help each other through it. That’s all you can really hope for.

In the meantime I’m really hoping that Smiggle quickly go out of business.

For D. X

One thought on “Backpacks and bereavement

  1. It feels wrong to “like” your post but I’m pleased to see that even in the darkest moment your humour shines through.
    Dealing with death is never easy but children of her age are very resilient. What you have to be prepared for is the inevitable “Will I die?” question.


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