My daughter said she wanted to tell me a secret – but it wasn’t her’s to tell and she was petrified because if I let this secret get out some seriously bad things could happen.
Isn’t it crazy the way that children somehow manage to catch you off guard no matter how well you try and prepare yourself for any questions they may fire your way?
You could have read all the textbooks and have all the explanations ready to go as well as backup age-appropriate children’s books to use as resources (for when all the extra challenging and unexpected talks come up). And then instead of innocently asking you about where babies come from or about religion, the meaning of life or what happens when we die – they blindside you with something you have absolutely no answers for.
What Was This BIG Secret?
My daughter said that this secret was something that we could never even tell her dad she said – and that’s the part that worried me most because he’s usually her confidant. But this time around she wanted to ensure complete silence, and she didn’t know if he could stay quiet.
We had to wait until all her siblings were in bed, so that no one overheard. Then we had to lock ourselves in the kitchen whilst her daddy had his sports blaring on tv in the other room completely oblivious to all the suspicious tiptoeing around that was being done in the house.
This Was Going To Be BIG!
Part of me was hoping for something silly, but I could tell from the look on her face that this was going to hurt. Because it was tormenting her badly and I could see it in her eyes.
“Mummy, remember my friend whose parents died?” she began, “well they didn’t actually die and now they’re back!”
My goodness, the relief I felt! This was brilliant news! She wasn’t about to drop a bomb on me asking how babies were made or any other challenging questions. I thought this was going to be super straight forward – like the time her other friend told her that her father was eaten alive by a cougar in India whilst they were on holidays and she never got to see him again because he just disappeared completely without a trace.
That story made sense to me, I mean if my husband got excessively close to a cougar I’d hope he would disappear out of my life forever too.
But Wait…There’s More!
Once I felt at peace, that’s when my daughter winded me.
“Mummy my friend is scared because her mum and dad are taking a special secret medicine that makes them really really sick and she said they’re going to die”.
My expression finally matched hers. But my heart probably hurt worse as I attempted to make sense in my mind of the whole situation.
I mean there are medications/procedures which make you sicker before you get better – like chemotherapy. Could both of this child’s parents unfortunately be suffering through that daunting process together?
Here’s where the alarm bells went off though. No one can know about this special medicine, because then the parents will have to go away again.
I felt tremendously guilty because along with questioning in my mind how I can possibly help this child, I also questioned what kind of ghetto school I was sending my children to, how soon I could swap schools and if my daughter would be able to just forget this entire ordeal. They’re simply far too young to be dealing with these kinds of problems and I’m far too underprepared to meet this sort of challenge.
What Is This ‘Medicine’?
My child is scared, because her friend is crying everyday. Because her friend’s parents take the ‘medicine’ and become extremely sick – and this child has been convinced that she can’t even entrust her grandparents with what’s going on at home. Otherwise she loses her parents again, one way or another.
“Mummy are her parents really going to die because I promised her that it will be ok and they won’t die?” She had just promised her friend something which she has absolutely no control over… similarly to the way I assured her that I wouldn’t tell anyone. Yet here I am sharing in the worst secret anyone has ever confided in me.
Could This Really Be Innocent?
Let’s face it, this could be completely innocent and perhaps this child’s parents just crave privacy and would prefer it if their daughter didn’t disclose their medical conditions to others. The disturbing part however is that their child isn’t allowed to confide her feelings and fears in anyone. And if this entire experience is innocent- which I pray that it is, then why isn’t there more transparency, even just so that their daughter understands what’s going on.
Explaining to a child that you’re unwell, but you’re seeking medical attention and your prescription medication is a bit strong so it makes you feel sicker is far different from telling a child that they aren’t allowed to talk to anyone about the ‘special secret medicine’ that makes their parents sick – MASSIVELY different!
This ‘Medicine’ Could Destroy Lives
As for my idea of changing primary schools to hide my children from these sorts of issues, I suppose there is no guarantee that any school is safe really. Besides this, eventually, when my daughter is much older, hopefully we will be able to discuss this openly and she will recall the fear she had for her friend. And maybe with a huge amount of prayer and luck it may just be the reminder she keeps with her that illicit drugs destroy lives.
No young child should have to be crying at school fearing that their parents are going to die from consuming ‘special secret medicine’. They’re too young for this! And it’s our responsibility as parents not to put their impressionable little minds through such horror!
Just imagine the weight of a secret of this magnitude on a young soul. She shouldn’t be burdened with it. And if it is a real health issue then her grandparents who she was living with for years prior to this should at least be allowed to support her, she needs someone.
I Am NOT Keeping This A Secret!
… which is precisely why I won’t be keeping this hush hush. No child should suffer through something like this feeling so alone and helpless!
What would you do if your child told you a secret like this? Tell us in the comments below.