{love letter} What does that mean?


Tonight, in the shower, as I was explaining to Ava why she couldn’t use soap (because of her eczema), she wanted to know if I had had eczema like that when I was little.  I explained that I had not, but that her Daddy had.

She said, “Oh, and you took Daddy to the doctor about that.”  (If at all possible, Ava would visit the doctor every day.  She is obsessed with stethoscopes and loves to visit just so that they can listen to her heart).

“No,” I said.  “When Daddy was little, I was little too.”

“Oh, but then who looked after me?”


“Well you see, when Daddy and I were little you hadn’t been born.”

“But I was in your tummy.”

“Well… no… not really.  Mummy and Daddy were little, we hadn’t even met each other.  You didn’t exist yet.”

“What does that mean?”

What does that mean?  Now I’m sure my darling little four-year-old was not trying to get all deep-and-meaningful tonight… but it raised  some questions for me that are always just bubbling under the surface.

It is so strange to think that we are these immensely complex creatures, with millions of thoughts and feelings and dreams, but in terms of the universe we are just this tiny blip.  For hundreds of millions of years the world and the universe existed without a you or a me… and then we are born, and we have this incredibly short time to live our lives… and then we die, and we don’t exist anymore – back to the beginning.

I have always been incredibly scared of death.  I was brought up in a non-religious home, and I have grown up believing in humanity (that we are here to love and to be good to each other) but not in a higher being.  There are still times when I wish I could have been brought up with some faith, so that when I thought of death, I didn’t associate it with this blanket of eternal darkness that makes my palms sweat and my heart beat faster.

Just after Ava was born, I went through a particularly fearful period (suffering from insomnia for almost three months).  Long after Barry fell asleep I would toss and turn in bed, unable to sleep as my mind tried to find some sort of solution to this inevitable outcome.  I cried, I reasoned, I rationalised… but I couldn’t find an answer.

After making this new life that I loved more than I could have ever imagined, it was harder than ever for me to find peace with the finality and uncertainty of death.  Eventually the fear didn’t feel so raw.  Most of the time I am able to bury it deep down and carry on with the busy-ness of life, trying to drink in the magic of each moment and ignore the heaviness of my heart.  However, these fears always manage to catch up to me at some point, even in the peaceful moments, and my palms sweat and my stomach tightens until I can bury them down again.

For now, she is four.  Tomorrow when she wakes up, she probably won’t even remember that we had this conversation.  But what about when she has questions like this for real?  How do I answer her?  I can’t even find the answers for myself.

I don’t mean to burden you with these thoughts.  I want this blog to be a joyous and inspiring place, but this was weighing on my mind and I’d be so interested to hear what you think… to know if there is anyone like me who has these thoughts and worries.

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5 Responses to “{love letter} What does that mean?”

  1. October 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm, Erin M. said:

    Beautiful post, Hana, and beautifully written. I was just talking to someone about this today, about that very fear of the blanket of death and what happens after. Most cultures of the world have their ideas about this, and how it relates to how we live life. I believe that our life is all about learning to love, that creating and giving love is what gives human life meaning, both in the moment and in the larger picture. The universe is to me a big amazing picture of love. Thanks again for a beautiful post. ~Erin


    • October 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm, Hana said:

      Hi Erin,

      “…our life is all about learning to love, that creating and giving love is what gives human life meaning…”

      I love that. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. You have a beautiful way of looking at things. H xo


  2. October 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm, Elizabeth Rago said:

    An honest and true post that many people are dealing with especially with small kids. My son, 5-years-old, has been asking a lot about our dog who passed away 2 years ago. The other day he kept asking me how the dog died. At first I was going to say he was sick, but then I remembered someone telling me I shouldn’t say that b/c if I ever get sick, he might think I was going to die.

    I just flat out said he had a disease called cancer and that he died. We do believe in heaven in our house, so when things die around here, they go to heaven.

    It sounds terrible, but as a parent, I do like having the heaven back up to the death conversation. However, I am a little scared for the future when my 92-year-old granny passes away. My kids are close with her and I am dreading the day when I have to explain where Grandma has gone to my young kids.

    I think it is hard speaking of these subjects no matter what the age of your children, but most importantly, I think it is important for you to be at peace with the topic of death yourself.

    I have found an explanation for myself and while of course I do not want to die or have my loved ones die, I feel like I can move on from the worry of death plaguing my mind and stealing the happiness of my day.

    I’m not sure if this made sense at all, Hana, but please know there are other people who are having similar conversations with their kids! Hang in there! :)


    • October 28, 2011 at 12:14 am, Hana said:

      Hi Elizabeth. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I feel it so comforting to hear your views and beliefs. I’m sure that I will find my peace with the whole concept of death at some point. My Dad is 86 and he has recently been talking of his mortality. Something that I find quite bizarre is that he talks about it so comfortably. Yes, I definitely hope I find that peace one day… in the meantime though, I guess there is no point on dwelling too much on something that I have no control over. Again thanks for sharing friend – it means a lot. H xo


  3. October 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm, {inspire} My Creative Space said:

    […] I wanted to thank those of you who responded to my last post, in the comments section, or by email.  I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and beliefs […]


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