On Condolences, From My Son

My boys know things about loss and love. Over the last four years we have lost my grandparents, my stepmother, Tricia’s dad, and my mom—the last two in just the past few months. In the time between we have lost three cats and a dog, all of which were years older than the children—all of which they had always known. The boys have experienced sadness in quantity and quality, something that many of us don’t need face until we are somewhat older, and now, through experiences I rather they never had, they know the things that I have mentioned. And they know so much more.

Atticus came home from school yesterday to say that his teacher’s father had died over the weekend, and that she had taken the day off.

“Of course,” I said. “I am sorry to hear that.”

I am still taking days off.

“The substitute teacher said we should write her a note,” he added. “We should write whatever we want.”

And then, armed with pencil and understanding, he disappeared into the kitchen to offer his condolences. This is what he wrote:

kid, condolences, empathy, sympathy, compassion, death, talking, communication, bonds


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