Thursday, 28 January 2010

Eight, Eight, I forget what eight was for

Max asked me a very pointed question in the car yesterday. Regarding my brother, our fathers, and all the muck.

I was driving in the rain, and must have totally forgot that Max is .. you know, EIGHT YEARS OLD.

"Well sweetheart, we all had a pretty tricky time when we were growing up. Your aunties, uncle and I ...... ummmmm, Uncle Cam was only eight when his dad died."

Max's eyes grew wide, so shocked. "The same age as me!"
I've always been deliberately vague with him regarding the deaths I've experienced. He is a big thinker and worrier, like me.

Turning on to the freeway in the pouring rain, I suddenly felt the urge to tell him everything ... how they died, what it felt like. I saw the wheels in his brain turning, so before he asked me, I blurted out "Mate do you know what the word suicide means?"

Raining raining harder now.

"Yes! I mean, I've heard it but I don't actually now what it means."

Here I go, I thought ... and then *BANG* the biggest, freakiest thunderclap in all the land. Lightning, hail .... the heavens opened on our car of truth. We both screamed, it was cool but scary. The biggest thunderstorm I've seen in years. We parked and got saturated, picking Rocco up and strapping him back in the car. Max was scared of the thunder, kept needing reassurance. I was PETRIFIED of the thunder, but just made up silly songs about it, told him we wouldn't die if our car got hit by lightning. (Would we???)

Anyway, the timing of the storm was impeccable, and I decided it was a sign that I shouldn't tell Max all the gory details just yet. How would I describe what suicide is, anyway? "Sometimes people choose to end their own lives?" ... that sucks! And the drinking to death of self by my real father .... another form of suicide, really. My sisters and I have told our children bits and pieces of things. It'll all come out in the end, anyway. It always does.

By some strange kooky coincidence, when we were all home together after the storm yesterday - my brother was talking about something he did when he was eight. I felt Max look at me, remembering our half-finished conversation.

I know he'll ask me about it again, soon.

I'll probably tell him. Yes, eight is too young for him to know.

Just like eight was too young for my brother to actually experience it.

I guess we all learn how cruel life can be. Just in different ways.
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