Monday, June 24, 2013

Guest Post by Mai Weston, Friend Extraordinnaire

I am so fortunate to have such wonderful friends. My husband jokes that I would make a friend in the line at the post office and that is completely true. My jibber jack mouth has gained me friends from all walks of life, with vastly different cultures, ethnicities and hailing from all areas of the world. I love the perspectives that these friends have always shared with me and feel that each person has helped me grow into the person I am (and will be).

And, the one thing that I always love about my friends is that no matter how much time has past, we can pretty much pick up where we left off. I have one phenomenal friend, Mai, whose friendship is just like that. With our busy lives we don't get to see each other as often as I would like, but when we do see each other, we are laughing just like we did when we were in high school. 

Mai is married and has a super cute family. She's one bad mother fu, wait, mother of two small children; little boy M, who is going to five shortly and little Miss L, who just turned one.  She's also a master multi-tasker who works, cares for her family all while staying super cool and fashion forward. I'm hoping we will hear from her on a variety of topics in the future!

Today she's writing about Bambi...sort of. Okay, it's about death. It's a topic we all deal with and will have to confront as moms. Mai was gracious enough to share her perspective on it. While no one will have the best way to deal with it and it is so different for everyone, I feel it's really important that we are honest about it with our kids. And, some times just recognizing that our kids are smart enough to ponder the thought of their own mortality is a shocker to us. And, often times, just admitting and accepting that we are freaked out about our own mortality is a hard pill to swallow. 

So, without further chit chat from is Mrs. Mother Extraordinnaire - Mai!

Thanks a Lot, Bambi.

My father warned me. “Don’t let him watch Bambi” he said. My four year old son had been warned that Bambi’s mother dies, but he still he begged me to watch it. Eventually I gave in. After all, it’s a Disney movie. What could go wrong?

Let me back up for a second. My husband’s grandmother died about 6 months ago. This was our son’s first real experience with death.  He seemed fine.  He understood it, he grieved in his own small way, we moved on with our lives. Sometimes he would tell me he missed her. I said I missed her too. It was fine.

And then…Bambi. The first 24 hours were fine. I even called my father and pooh-poohed his caution. And then it sunk in. People die. I’m going to die, he’s going to die, and we are all going to die. There were tears. There was heartbreak. It lasted for a couple days and it was awful.

If I was religious person, there would have been a prescribed way for me to handle this moment.  He’s familiar with the concept of heaven and angels, so that route was available. But whether or not you believe there is an afterlife, the raw facts of death are still the same. And I knew it was my responsibility to deliver that information.  So, I sucked in my breath and put it all on the table – Yes, we will all die.  Hopefully it won’t happen to anyone we love for a very long time. It will happen to you.  And yes, it’s very, very sad.

Sometimes when I see him looking contemplative, I know he’s thinking about death. He tells me “Oh, I was just thinking about dying”.  Recently, he’s really wanted to know about the logistics of death. When do we die? How old will I be when I die? What happens to people’s bodies when they die? My older brother died when I was 12. My son wants to visit the beach where we sprinkled his ashes. It makes me happy that he wants to do that. And it makes me sad.

I’ve been anxious about my own death for as long as I can remember. Mercifully, having children has significantly lessened that anxiety. My life is so full of love and joy, that it doesn’t seem fair to ask for immortality.  Or maybe it’s that motherhood has made me less interested in myself.  Either way, I hope by the time he is my age, the fear will have quieted itself.

Death is my son’s new bedfellow. He’s learning to live with it. He pushes it back to into a dark corner when he needs a respite. I tell myself this is all healthy and normal. It was going to happen eventually. It happens to every person at some point in their life. But frankly, it still makes me a little sad.

- Mai Weston

And, because the topic is a heavy one today, I thought I'd dig up an old photo of Mai and I from high school. Just for poops and giggles.

I HAD to post a photo from high school. I just had to.

Left, Mai; Middle, our friend Delilah; Right, Moi


  1. Mai - you're certainly a fabulous mama!

    Death is certainly a tricky topic for many parents. Every aspect of life (and death) is addressed in Islam - however, there really isn't any prescribed manner for addressing the issue, particularly with children. Hubby and I opted to be honest and forthcoming - we discussed the very sad reality and facts. However, I know many Muslims (and Christians) who gloss over the issue and prefer to go the "heaven and angels" route - without really explaining or discussing the issue at all.

    At 4 and 5 years old, children are capable of great comprehension. I wholeheartedly believe in being frank with my children. Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows... I cherish their innocence greatly, however I also respect their intelligence. Teaching children about reality can remain age appropriate without the need for sugar-coating.

  2. Serena, I wholeheartedly agree with you that being honest with our children and respecting their intelligence is critically important. Thank you for sharing and giving your perspective!


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