They don’t normally mean to, it just happens, because of their honesty, or openness or curiosity. Lately, Rachel has begun asking where her “Granny” is.
“Granny” is the name we have given to her maternal grandmother, who passed away five months after she was born. I point out Granny in pictures and when Rachel was little I used to tell her all the time that her Granny loved her.
But I haven’t mentioned her in a while. Which makes it even stranger that Rachel keeps talking about her now. Maybe the kids talk about their Grannies at school and Rachel is lucky enough to have the most wonderful grandmother who she sees all the time, but her name is “Nana”. So it’s only fitting that she wants to know where her “Granny” is too I suppose.
This is how our conversation goes:
“Mommy, I want my Granny.”
“Your Granny isn’t here my love.”
“Where is she?”
“She’s in heaven.”
“Because she got sick.”
“What was wrong?”
“She had a sore head.” (how else do you explain a brain tumour to a 3 year old?)
“Did she go to the doctor?”
“Yes my love.”
“Then why didn’t she get better?”
“They couldn’t fix her my darling.”
And that’s when I fall apart. Because I wish I had an answer. I wish medical science was advanced enough to fix what breaks the bodies of the people we love. I wish doctors really were the Gods that 3-year-olds think they are. I wish I didn’t have to have this conversation with my daughter and that instead I could say that she’d see her Granny next week. I wish all of these things. But wishing doesn’t change what is my reality.
Wishing doesn’t change the fact that with a few words I can feel such heartbreak and such love. For the Granny she never knew, for the incredible little person she is becoming. Sometimes it’s so hard talking to a 3-year-old. Hard and beautiful all at once.
Photo by Robyn Rose.