Death from the Eyes of Third Graders

“I didn’t understand what it meant for someone to die. I didn’t know what to write because I had no idea what death really was.”

A few years ago I was catching up with an old childhood friend. We were chatting like two girlfriends do, and somehow the topic of my mom came up in conversation. A few days after my mom died, my third grade teacher asked all my classmates to make sympathy cards for me. And that’s what she told me — she was too naive to write me a sympathy card. After all, how could she know what it felt like to lose her mommy or daddy? She was only eight years old! How could most people at that age comprehend the idea of losing an immediate family member unless they had gone through that turmoil themselves?

Nonetheless, her conversation reminded me of those sympathy cards from my old classmates. I went home that night bothered. I wanted to find those cards. I spent the next few days scavenging the house, looking for them. At last, I finally spotted them, tucked away in a corner. I took them out and read every single one. And it was truthfully one of the eeriest experiences of my life.

One of the themes of my blog is the concept of death, and what it truly means to lose someone you care about. A huge reason this theme is critical for my writing is because of how impressionable I was when my mom passed away. You see, I was young enough that I couldn’t quite understand just how much my entire life would forever be impacted by mom’s absence, but I was old enough to remember her suffering and to remember her dying. It’s challenging to understand how difficult it was at my age to lose someone. And those cards reminded me why.

Below you will find photos of the cards that my classmates made fifteen years ago. I don’t think they require much description or analysis, as I strongly believe the pictures speak for themselves. But I do want to say this — before my mom died, I was just as innocent as my classmates. But then I lost my innocence. Forever.

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2 comments

    • Ahh the words of the innocents. Your words are eloquent, Grace. You are right, I can’t imagine being a young girl losing her mother. But your words are giving me the briefest glimpse into your world. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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