Hearing aid

Parenting: Making sense of death for my 5-year-old — and myself

November 30, 2016

By Candida Gazoli, Special to The Washington Post “How many more days until everyone dies, Mama?” my son asked me at bedtime. I was about to sing him a lullaby, and in a futile attempt to buy time … I … lied. “Sorry, Señor, I, uh — I don’t have my hearing aid on.” I do wear a hearing aid for my left ear — my right ear has significant damage that a hearing aid can’t fix, the fallout from strong antibiotics to reduce the swelling in my brain when I had meningitis — and I did have it on. I had heard him, but my heart told me to deflect the question. ” ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ tonight?” I asked. “Mama! How many more days until we all die?” he said, practically shouting so that I could hear him better. Earlier that day, we had discovered Rocky, one of my son’s dwarf hamsters, permanently asleep in his cage, nestled motionless beneath alfalfa seeds, paper curls and peanut shells. “I don’t know, my Señor,” I said, looking down, my thoughts shifting to Rocky alone in his cardboard mausoleum. As Rocky lay cold and empty, his cousin Cody was in the cage next to his, oblivious to Rocky’s departure from the world. Cody kept to his regular morning routine, which revolves around grooming and staying fit. He went to his regularly scheduled workout, rang all the little bells and ran to his walking bridge for sugar water breaks. He darted back and forth between the colorful obstacles that fenced him in as if nothing had changed. Only once did he push his nose through the bars to smell the freedom of our family room. The aroma of liberty was not enough to hold his attention, though, and he snapped right back into his happy-go-lucky lifestyle, running laps on his bright-green wheel as if the Olympics were on his to-do list. “These are very good questions you’re asking, my Señor. I just wish I knew their answers.” Rocky was bookish and thoughtful, preferring to spend...

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