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Holding back the tears in my misty eyes, I was mustering all the courage to break the news to my 8 year old son about the demise of his very dear fufaji (uncle) who lived right next to us.I never wanted to introduce my son to the harsh reality of life at an early age. I always wanted him to enjoy his carefree, playful, and un tainted life. I thought it would be unjustified to even let the little ones ponder about this human life cycle. However, this time I had to tell him about his dear fufaji. He was taking shower when I went up to him. With a grave effort to speak in a firm voice, I broke the news to him which left him shocked and crying under the shower for a long time. He cried,"How can fufaji die, mummy". He was number three in my favorite list of people". I just held him tightly to myself feeling very miserable and helpless for not being able to properly console him, which we used to do earlier by promising to bring back his dear lost possession.
After few days, while studying one day, he started off his questions to clear his doubts. His first question was "mummy, where are we going to go after we all die and are we going to meet there"? Will you and papa wait for me up there when I join you after I get old? Shall we all recognize each other?
My heart almost stopped for a moment as I had prayed never to face this painful and arduous task to reply such questions and here I was right doing one.
I am a very emotional bent of mind and can't really hold my emotions. But, I knew that I can never make my son feel weak or miserable being introduced to this bitter truth. Neither I wanted to show him that I am emotionally crippled and helpless at this harsh fact of life and manifest it in the form of crying in front of him. To evade my involuntary outburst, I rushed to washroom for the moment, wiped my tears and came back with an affirmation. With all my strength,I exuberantly replied him in a very hearty and confident voice."Of course, we all shall meet there and we all can decide the planets we would live in and explore the universe together with all our loved ones. I explained him that there is another part of world which lies up there and only when the people get very old are allowed to get there. I felt much relieved to have said that . He brightened up his face since I was able to divert his mind to our little universe with small planets as our lovely homes up there. At the end with a cheerful voice he asked me " that's great mummy, so you and dad will still be my parents up there. I said of course, no doubt about it!
With a very expected answer my son danced about and went onto his play.
While a plethora of emotions played aftermath, yet I got a very concrete reason to smile. After few days, on asking my son his favorite question, if he has updated his new list of 10 favorite people, where his dad and me usually struggle to fight for the first position. We both were blessed to hear from him that his dear fufaji( uncle ) still holds his third position in the favorite list of people and ever will.
Believe me, I am still smiling and shall continue to do.....but now with a much brighter and an invincible spirit.