Sometimes We Talk About Sadness.

Alexander: Mommy.. Are you crying? Look. Your eyes are making tears.
Me: Yes I am crying.
Alexander: Why? Do you have a boo boo?
Me: No, I am crying because I’m sad.
Alexander: Why are you sad?
Me: Because sometimes things change and you’re not ready. Because you can see how they used to be so clearly and you want them back that way. Like when a toy breaks and you can picture how it just was. But you can’t fix it to be like that again. So it’s sad.
Alexander: Oh. That is sad. Did your toy break, mommy?
Me: No, love. I’m just remembering something that I miss.
Alexander: Is it sad?
Me: No.. It is beautifully happy. So happy that I wish it was like that again. But it’s not because life changes.
Alexander: But if it’s happy why are you crying?
Me: Because tears let out all the sadness so that only the happiness stays. Like when we put those rocks in the bucket and filled it up with water to wash the rocks clean and then we poured the water out and we had more room in the bucket for more rocks and other cool things.
Alexander: Yeah, and we found more rocks!
Me: Yes. Sometimes you have a type of happiness that feels all muddy because you’re sad that you can’t have it back again. Crying lets that sadness out so that you can remember all the happy things, and so that you can be happy again.
Alexander: That’s cooooooolllll!
Me: Yes it is.
Alexander: Mommy, you stopped crying.
Me: I did.
Alexander: Why?
Me: Because I’m not sad anymore.
Alexander: Can we go find rocks?
Me: Yes.. Yes we can.

  5 comments for “Sometimes We Talk About Sadness.

  1. Jen
    July 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Sarah…I know it is not fair to want to know what has happened in your life that makes you sad like this. I wish I could say the right thing to give back to you a little bit of what you’ve given to me. Thank you for sharing with us how you teach your children about death and sadness. Beautiful post.

    • sarah
      July 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm


      Things just change to make way for the way that things become. I have a very vivid memory and am sometimes struck out of the blue by remembering deeply happy or deeply ordinary things that just aren’t there anymore but that I can remember so vividly that I feel as though I can walk into the other room and see a person that passed away years ago. It is a gift, really. It allows me to remember the look and the touch and the smell and the taste of moments. But sometimes the sadness of loss makes those “rocks” muddy. Tears wash them clean so that I can look back on happiness and see life as a timeline again, instead of a series of losses.

      <3 – Sarah

  2. Jenny
    July 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you for this post. I always think That I should hide my tears from my very perceptive and empathetic toddler. How silly I never thought to talk to her about why emotions are real and okay.

  3. Amy
    July 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    This conversation is so interesting and cute. Can I translate it into Chinese and share it on my blog with credit to =P (I am sure my friends who are parents would find it very interesting)

    • sarah
      July 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Go for it, Amy! If you link-back I can include it on the list of translations. :)

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