first conversation about death

Vianne is playing  in our atrium (an open-to-the-sky room in the middle of our house).

Vianne calls me in and says there’s a spider on her basket, pointing to it.

It’s not a spider, it’s a bee, I tell her.

“Spider” covers a lot of ground in her mind.  But the bee was crawling on the side, not flying, so I get what she was thinking.

I pick up the basket and take it outside, and shake it so the bee falls off.

I would say set the bee free, but I think the bee was on its last wings.   Our Atrium is a bee graveyard for some reason.  Every week or so, I’ll find a dead bee. If I haven’t looked for a while, they start adding up.  A quick look around showed six bee carcasses.

Vianne saw one nearby.

Is it going to fly away, she asked.

No, I said, it’s dead.

She looked confused.  Is it going to fly away, she asked again.

Death has never come up. So, now I get to talk about death for the first time with my 2 year old.

No, Vianne, it’s not going to fly away.  It’s dead.

Like you? she asked me.

Now I looked confused. Took me a second.

No, I told her, I’m dad. The bee is dead, and I am dad.

The conversation continued a bit more successfully after that.

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