Today has been a new challenge as a parent for me. Someone my daughters know and look up to, a young teenager, passed away after fighting cancer for a few years. The news has been shocking for them and I see them sitting quietly at times, and other times, asking me questions about the disease.

At this age, my children understand that death is irreversible. I’ve always been the type of parent who¬†likes to talk to my kids and drive them to ask questions so they don’t carry a heavy burden of unknowns in their tender hearts and minds. How I choose to answer the questions has to be strategic and appropriate for their level of understanding, of course. But I can’t help feeling all of the grief myself and find myself working hard to not let my own sadness pour into theirs. However, I’ve noticed that allowing myself to be sad is making them relate better and understand that it’s alright to feel that way. I guess it gives them comfort when I express my feelings openly so they, in turn, do the same.

Overall, it’s going well, but I have to say that parenting isn’t always about protecting our children from pain and suffering. It’s teaching them how to deal with what comes their way, and in the process of teaching them, I guess we become better students as well.