I was deep in thought preparing a lecture to be given that evening at a college dross town , when the photo rans , A woman I had never met introduced
herself and said that she was the mother of a seven-year-old boy and that she was dying . she said that her doctorhad advised her that discussing her
coming death with her little boy would be too cruel for him , but somehow that didn’t feel right to her .
Knowing that I worked with grieving children , she asked for my advice . I told her thatour heart was often smarter than our brain and that I thought
she knew what would be best for her son . Ialso invited her to attend the lecture that night since Iwas speaking about how children deal with death . She
said she would be there .
I wouldered later if Iwould recoginize her at the lecture , but my question was answered when I saw a weak woman being half-carried into the room by
two adults , I talked about the fact that children usually sense the truth long before they are told and that they often wait until they feel adults are ready to
talk about it before sharing thrie concerns and questions . Isaid that children usuallycan deal with truth better than denial , even though the denial is
intended to protect them from pain . I said that respecting . children meant incluing them in the family sadness , not shutting them out .
At the break , she hobbled to me and through her tears she said , “I knew it in my heart , I just I should tell him .” She said that she would that night .
The next morning I received photo call from her , Imanaged to hear the story though ger choked voice . She awakened him when they got home the
night before and quietly said , “Derek ,I have somthing to tell you .”
He quickiy interrupted her saying , “Oh , Mommy , is it now that you are going to tell me that your are dying ?”
She held him close and they both sobbed while she said ,”Yes.”
After a few minutes the little boy wanted down . He said that he had somthing for her . In the back of one of his drawers was a dirty pencil box . Inside
the box was a letter . It said , “Goo-bye , Mom , I shall always love you .”