On Death and Diving

By February 22, 2011My Life, Parenting

Miles came up to me with this picture in his hand.


Miles:  Mommy, when is Maddie coming back from the pool?

Me:  Miles, what do you mean?  Maddie is not at the pool honey.

Miles:  Yes she is.  She’s been diving a long long time.  I miss her.

Me:  No sweetie, Maddie is not diving.  Maddie was dying, and now she is dead and is in heaven.

Miles:  I think I want to dive with Maddie at Heaven.

Me:  No Miles, heaven is not a pool.  No one is at the pool today.  Maddie is in heaven and you are here with me.  You do not want to be with Maddie.

Miles:  Is Maddie coming back?

Me:  No sweetie, but she isn’t sick anymore and she is happy.

Miles:  Maddie is happy in heaven.  Can I go diving at the pool?

Me:  Yes, this summer when it is hot.

I was out of town when my dog Madeline died.  Ross took Miles with him tot he vet and Miles said goodbye and cried when they left Madeline there.  I found out in my car and pulled over to bawl and explain to Sophia what had happened.  We talked about death and heaven and how much we loved Madeline and how we would not see her again. 

I think that some part of this discussion was lost between father and son or simply misunderstood by Miles.  First, Ross is Jewish so I’m not so sure heaven came up.  Maybe Miles did not know where Maddie went.  Second, Miles is still working on his sounds so it would be easy to misunderstand dying and diving.  He had not ever heard of dying before and we talk about being old enough to dive every day all summer as we watch the big kids jump off the board.  

So for the last 7 months Miles thought that Maddie was at the pool, diving without out, and wanted her to come home.  It broke my heart to tell him again that Madeline was not going to come home.  Every time we see a doberman he thinks it is Maddie and wants to bring her home.  That kills me too.

But I have to say – it is priceless that he has been picturing the dog on a diving board living it up while we have been mourning her death.

Miles helped me to laugh about Madeline.  I needed that. 


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