Grown up kid (true story)

I was so used to her dancing to the songs I loudly played in our car rides, that’s when a tide of emotions would wash away her sadness, but this time she was unable to hide the torment in her mind…

So I lowered the volume and looked at her; “put your seatbelt on”, I said while looking at the empty road ahead of us… She seemed to not have heard me so I said it again, “come on, put your seatbelt on, what’s bothering you, why are you so quiet today?”

She tried to hide the truth that her eyes spoke, tried to cover it up with humour as we so often do in our family. “There’s a good news and a bad news” she said with a mask of a smile on her face; “okay, what’s the bad news?” , She was reluctant to say, so I said “what’s the good news?”

She took a pause to muster her thoughts and giggled adorably, “I’m lying”, she said, “there’s no good news”, “what’s the bad news ?” I reiterated. She looked at the road ahead of us as though she could see exactly what she was about to say, every letter leaving her mouth turning into sadness in her eyes…
“I’m scared that one day my mom is gonna die…”

As her older brother, someone that’s supposed to comfort her and know more than her, I was speechless for a while… What do I tell a seven year old? That death is a part of life? That we will all die one day and kill her hopes for a joyous life?

My thoughts raced through my mind, neurons colliding like a mallet on a gong and finally I said, “but she’s going to live a long long time before she dies and you’ll also be old before that happens, you’ll have your kids by that time…” She smiled and said “I’m still scared”,

“I’m scared to lose my parents too” I replied… And looking within myself, I really am scared. She said, “My dad is getting old, he’s getting white hair!” And I told her “my dad too! He doesn’t even have hair anymore!” She said that her dad wanted her to braid his hair and she laughed because his hair was too short, I laughed too because I could only braid the sides of my dad’s head and we carried on laughing as time flew by…

But what she said that day really hit me deep, what if we lost our loved ones sooner than we thought? What if we were left in a world without them and the only place they’d be alive in would be in our memories, pictures, videos and the brightest corners of our lives? How would that change the way we live right now?

Live in the moment and tell them you love them while you still can. Everyone dies eventually, what do you want your last conversation to have, how do you want your last moments to be, how do you want to remember them and how do you want to be remembered? Life is short, live it well…

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