The Depth of Understanding?

I had quite an emotional day yesterday.

Hugh and I have talked a lot about how much or how little Calder really understands.  He is a child and a young one at that.  We feel like he knows that something happened, but how deep his knowledge and understanding goes is really unknown.

The grade 2 class at Hugh's school made cards for us and we got them in the mail before Hugh went back to work.  They were so cute.  Many had balloons on the front and had messages asking Hugh to come back to school. . . they missed him.  The cards were thoughtful.  Many said, "I'm sorry."  Hugh and I briefly talked about how much a 7 year old would really understand, but I didn't take time to think about it.  In fact, it just dawned on me that I have a niece in grade 2.  I  have been so caught up in my own feelings that I haven't even asked my sister-in-law, Abbey, how Maddy is doing.  Hmmm. . .

Yesterday, Hugh brought home a book where each of his grade 8 students wrote him a message.  A couple of the students commented that they could relate.  Someone in their family had lost a baby. A number of them spoke that they couldn't imagine what we are going through.  One student wrote, "I wish you hope and love."  These messages meant a lot to me, but even more to Hugh.

I have taken moments to wonder if my students have heard about Tripp and what has happened to our family, but I never thought about how they might react to the news or how they might feel.  My students are in high school and they know what death means.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down to check my email and found one in my inbox from a parent.  Her boys, in grades 11 and 12, had heard.  They were upset by it.  They asked "why".

I have read this line probably 30 times since getting the email,  "Thus began a lengthy dinner conversation that explored and exposed a 17 and 18 year olds' perspective, thoughts and compassion on the birth and passing of your son."  Wow.  

The parent thanked me for what Tripp brought to her and to her boys.  Wow.  

I really don't have words for the thoughtfulness of this parent.  This email was the first time I had heard about how my students' felt.  If these two boys are having this depth of feeling for Tripp and for us, imagine how many other students are feeling the same.  Wow.

When I first read the email, I broke down.  I was so moved.  Their compassion touched my heart.  I sat at our kitchen table crying.  I was crying so hard that I didn't notice Calder come over to me until he had crawled halfway onto my lap.  He put his arms around me and hugged me without saying a word.  After a moment he pulled his head back and put his finger through my tears.  "Mommy sad?"

It makes me think.


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