Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of young parents are dying lately?
It feels like every time I am on Facebook I read about another tragic death
I did not know any of these people, but it’s hard not to get emotional about the untimely or unexpected death of someone’s parent, spouse or child, especially when you have mutual friends in common.
The first time Evan and I had a conversation about death I mistakenly thought that his autism would shield him from the emotional burden of loss.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Why do you look so nice?” Asked Evan, then five, when I got home from a funeral.
I told him where I was but did not expect him to understand. We had not yet experienced the death of a loved one nor did we have an occasion to talk about death.
“Was it dark at the funeral?” asked my son, who was hopelessly obsessed with lights. I answered his question with great detail about the lighting. By focusing my response on the lights, I avoided the topic of death.
How fortunate for him to not have to experience the pain of coping with loss, I thought.
His next question proved that I was the ignorant one.
“Did you cry at the funeral?”
How did my son not only know what a funeral was but attach the appropriate emotion to the event?
Four years later I still don’t have a clue, but I will never again underestimate what Evan knows or is capable of comprehending.