Illness sucks. It especially sucks for children. At least adults are kind of used to feeling unwell and they know what will make them feel better. Children, especially young ones, can't always be specific about what's wrong or where it hurts and that can be terrifying as a parent.
You were the most unwell that I've ever seen you last month. I had to call an ambulance because you were in so much pain and you couldn't breathe properly. That was quite possibly the scariest moment of my life. Throughout it all, you were so brave and I am so proud of you. It turned out to be a particularly nasty virus and you are on your way back to your normal self now. We are lucky. Parents of children with long term or life limiting illnesses or conditions live every day with the worry I had for just a few days last month. I have no words for how much admiration I have for them.
I had to write about your illness to give some context to the following conversation. We didn't prompt you and everything you said was said with absolute sincerity. You didn't make any of it up.
About a week after you'd been poorly, you asked Grandma, 'Are you married?' Normally not a difficult question but tricky to explain that yes, Grandma is married but that Grandad isn't here anymore.
When I sat down with you both, you turned to me and asked 'Is Grandad dead?' I replied 'Yes darling, he is.'
You looked puzzled and you were very quiet for a minute or two. Then you asked again. 'Is Grandad dead?' I replied again, 'Yes, he...' at which point, you cut me off and said 'No, he's not. I seen him. He's not dead.'
Me and Grandma looked at each other, chills down our spines. I probed a little. 'Where did you see him Harry?'
'When I was hurting. When I was poorly. I seen him'
There were tears in my eyes, once I'd scooped my jaw off the floor.
Now, I'm not saying that I believe in ghosts or the afterlife, (ok, I totally do believe in ghosts, but only at night, obviously), but this is a pretty odd and random thing for a three year old to say. You were so adamant that you were right. You told us like it was a fact and that we were wrong.
Just something to think about...
Oh, Dad, if you are around, leave us the winning lottery numbers or something when you next visit. Love you x