Family Friday: How Do you Tell Your Children that Sometimes Life Just Plain Sucks?
Sometimes there is no possible way to candy coat the dreadful news, no silver lining hiding a glimmer of hope, no deeper lesson to be learned through the mire and the muck. Sometimes life just plain sucks for no apparent reason except that it does.
Today was one of those days where all that can be said is “Life just plain sucks.” Period. Because today I learned that one of my daughter’s Kindergarten classmates was diagnosed with cancer. A beautiful, loving little girl who plays dollies, colors rainbows and says, “Excuse me Mrs. Young” in a tiny voice that melts your heart.
Cancer in Kindergarten. I realize it happens…a lot more than we’d like to think, but I can’t stop myself from wanting to scream, “NO, they are only kids! They shouldn’t know about cancer or tumors or horrible treatments that strip your body of life from the inside out.” It’s not like any of them chain-smoke or work in a coalmine such that there’s a logical explanation – a cause and effect that you can be angry at.
It’s times like these as grown-ups you know that the crying and the grieving is simply a part of the process and that searching for an explanation is futile at best. The years of experience have taught you that sometimes life just plain sucks and that no amount of rationalization or thinking or searching for an answer will change that solemn fact.
But how do you tell your children that sometimes life just plain sucks?
How do you explain that the bad guys sometimes do get away or that even when you try really hard, you still don’t win, or that really bad stuff happens to amazing people for absolutely no reason? How do you explain to them that their understanding of the world is fatally flawed? That the moral code taught in cartoons where rainbows smile on you and make everything better isn’t true?
Or do you even tell them? Do you let them continue believing in a world of wonder and magic? Do you let them continue to shape a world where miracles do exist? Do you close your eyes and hope that they are right and wonder does exist? Do you hope that they are never given any reason to wonder about the Karmic justice that allows little girls in Kindergarten to get cancer?
I wish I knew.