Monday, February 15, 2010

Explaining Anne Frank

These are the types of conversations that my kids are fond of bringing up, usually about five minutes before bedtime.

"That girl on your book looks like you," Boo commented, referring to Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, which has several black and white photos of Anne on the cover.

"You think so?"
"Yes. Who is she?"
"Her name is Anne Frank."
"Did she die?"
"Yes, honey, she did die."


"When did she die?"
"A long time ago, in 1944."
"How old was she?"
"How did she die?"

Age-appropriate answers, I reminded myself.

"Well," I began. "You know that Grandpop-pop was in the War, right?"
"He died." (Not in the war. Last year.)
"Yes, but at a different time. He was in the war, and during that war, there was a bad man. A very bad man."
"Did Grandpop-pop know the bad man? Did Grandpop-pop kill him?"
"No, he didn't know him and he didn't kill him. When Grandpop-pop was a soldier in the war, his job was to make sure the planes kept running."

Betty interjects.
"Was Grandpop-pop in the middle of a sentence when he died?"
"I really don't know, honey, I wasn't there."
"I think his eyes closed and he went like this - " (goes real still)
"Well, yeah, that's probably possible."

Back to Boo:
"Did Grandpop-pop know Anne Frank?"
"No, he didn't."
"Did he see her die?"
"How did she die?"
"The bad man didn't like certain people, and he wanted them to die. So, someone came to Anne Frank's house and told them this, but she and her family went and hid in an attic. For two years. And while she was hiding, she wrote a diary."

"And then she died?"
"Well, they were found, and then after that, she died."

"I know who was the saddest at Grandpop-pop's funeral."
"Mom Mom. Because that was her father."
"Well, yes, I think she was very sad."

Boo again:
"Was Anne Frank old?
"No, honey, she was just a little girl."
"I don't want to die."
"I know, honey. I don't want you to die either. Most people don't die when they are little, so you shouldn't worry about that."
"But Anne Frank wasn't old."
"No she wasn't."
"And she died."
"Why did she die again?"
"Because the bad man didn't like certain people and he wanted them to die."
"That's not really fair."
"No, it certainly is not."
"I think ...."
"What, honey?"


"I think that everyone should be allowed to live like they want to live, and not worry about having to die."

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Stephanie said...

Ok, Melissa, it's official I'm in love with Betty and Boo. I couldn't agree more. Tell her I said so. I second that motion of hers.
Bless her heart, Melissa. I remember distinctly the first time I encountered the concept of death. It's such a hard concept for adults to wrap their brains around much less kids. Even when I was the program director for the children's loss program at hospice it was tough.
God love 'em Melissa!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Thanks, Steph! You can be their Honorary Aunt Steph. :)

K a b l o o e y said...

Oh boy, does this sound familiar, although we haven't gotten to Anne Frank yet. But I've been fielding a lot of "he died?" comments lately, and then riding home from school the other day we both heard the radio report about the Olympic luge-er who died in that crash, so that precipitated a long exchange about the fact that he was 21. Am curious to hear your comments on the Anne Frank book. I was so moved by the original book as a young girl.

Trisha said...

Out of the mouths of babes...