Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Yesterday, in the car home from our Valentine's tea, Z. asked about my friend Helen dying. For those of you coming in late on this story, Helen died by gunshot at the hands of a stranger who has never been caught.

Z. has figured it out--she put together my sensitivity about guns with Helen's death and she asked, a few weeks ago, if Helen had been killed by a gun. I said yes. A direct question, you know?

So now I had to tell her a story about a bad guy, a real bad guy, and Z. was already obsessed with bad guys, and weapons, and jails, and the various ways of neutralizing bad guys and unleashing your power against the more powerful. It's the kind of storytelling that we find unremarkable in small boys. Z., with her love of dresses and purple and fancyness, is all about the ways of violence in the world.

She wanted to know about the bad guy who killed Helen, and when a story enters Z.'s repertoire she wants to hear it again and again. I do not usually put limits on whether she can ask questions, but it was hard to keep going, and A. finally stepped in and said that she was too young for us to keep telling this story, and when she was older she could ask for it again. I don't know if that was the right way to handle it, but I didn't want to be telling the story, so I let that decision stand.

Instead, we talked about the mechanics of guns, how they work.

Today, when she was playing with A., Z. said that if Z. shot the bad guy one more time, he would have to go to jail. I guess she's still working it all out for herself. But god, it was easier to watch her at it when we were pretending it was all still make-believe.


Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh, S.

Z. is very brave. And so are you.

susan said...


E. said...

This is difficult stuff. Very painful. Love to you all.

kathy a. said...


Jody said...

Oh my dear.

(I know that sounds both condescending and presumptuous, but it was the first thing that came into my mind, and I've been staring at the screen, and nothing else seems remotely right.)