The Stories That Need To Be Told

In the car, on the way to school today…

Genevieve: A lot of people get sick. But they don’t always die when they get sick.

Cassie: That’s right.

Genevieve: I’m very glad about that.

Cassie: Me too. Thank God for doctors.

Genevieve: And nurses too.

Cassie: Yes. Of course. The nurses.

Genevieve: Sometimes the nurses are the men. And the doctors are the women.

Cassie: Yes. Do you think you might like to be a doctor or a nurse?

Genevieve: Nope. Because sometimes the people still die. That would make me sad.

Cassie: You know, the doctors and nurses can really help people who are dying to feel more comfortable…on their way to death.

Genevieve: I don’t want to do that. I think I’ll be a teacher.

Cassie: Okay.

Genevieve: Will I ever die?

Cassie: Someday. A long time from now. After many years.

Genevieve: And you will die too?

Cassie: Yes.

Genevieve: And Dad?

Cassie: Yes. But–

Genevieve: Our whole family will die?

Cassie: Each person in our big family will have their turn to stop living here…with all of us together.

Genevieve: (silence)

Cassie: But maybe the people who died had children and grandchildren and the children and grandchildren are still alive and they are full of lots of memories of their time with the person who died. (Pause) Or, the person who died was living and enjoying life with so many other people that all those people who are still alive remember all about the person who died. They have so many memories and stories to tell about that person.

Genevieve: (still silence)

Cassie: And the stories and memories help everyone to feel better about having to say goodbye when it’s time for someone to pass away. Does that make sense to you, Gigi?

Genevieve: Uncle Iran died. And Aunt Robin passed away.

Cassie: Yes. Do you have memories of them? Do you have some stories or pictures in your head about them?

Genevieve: In our old house in New Jersey?

Cassie: Yea.

Genevieve: I can’t remember, I think.

Cassie: Well, maybe we can look at some pictures of Uncle Iran and Aunt Robin later today, after school.

Genevieve: Is that why you like to take a lot of pictures, so you can remember all the people’s stories?

Cassie: Yes. And I try to remember with words too.

Genevieve: The truth is, Mom, I don’t know how to read yet so how about we look at all the pictures and also you can TELL me the stories from your head when I go to sleep tonight. Okay, Mom? You TELL me all the stories.

Cassie: Okay. I will.

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