I was hesitant about volunteering, I am very comfortable speaking in public but I was not sure how to explain my job to children. I don't remember ever explaining it in detail to Ash and yet his assumptions of my job were quite sweet.
I had just attended a conference that discussed speaking with children about death and how important it was to include them in the conversations. I subscribed to this belief and I could apply it to this opportunity to talk with 4-6 year olds about my job. I decided to tell the children that when someone dies, the people who loved them are very sad and sometimes need help to feel better and that by talking and sharing with me, it is a start to them coping. I wrote the teacher a short note, letting her know the organization that I worked for, my position and what I could talk about and asked that she get back to me if she would like me to speak.
It was a week before I received a response and it came in the form of a letter penned on very pretty paper, this is what it said:
I read the letter quite a few times, trying to pen a response, I wish that the
Thank you for so kindly offering to speak to the Kindergarden class about your job. Although I am sure that your job is important for the families that you serve, the principal and I do not feel the topic of death is an appropriate one for 4-6 year olds.
Thank you Again
topic of death were not appropriate for 4-6 year olds. I know one 4 year
old in her class who has first hand experience with the topic of death and I was sure there was more. It struck me that it was the teacher and the principal that were not comfortable with the topic of death and I felt sad for them. Death is so much more difficult to handle when its very existence is denied. I guess that is part of my job, to educate and normalize people to grief and the part of my job that comes with restrictions is that some people will not want to know that I exist.