Tackling the difficult subject of death

Falkirk Herald editor Colin Hume
Falkirk Herald editor Colin Hume
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I had a rather delicate conversation with my four-year-old son this week after we discovered a dead bird in our back garden.

It wasn’t an entirely unexpected turn of events as, the previous evening, we had spotted it perched on a hanging basket looking decidely unwell.

However, after we woke up to find both the bird and the food we had left for it gone, we had hoped for the best.

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Then Calum found it lying on the path and the questions started ...

‘‘Poor bird, it’s not well,’’ he correctly stated.

‘‘No, it’s not well,’’ I agreed.

‘‘Will it get better?,’’ he asked, hopefully.

‘‘Not this time,’’ I was forced to answer. ‘‘The bird is dead. It’s gone away.’’

‘‘Where’s it gone?’’

‘‘Up to the sky.’’

‘‘Will it come back?’’

‘‘I’m afraid not, Calum’’

‘‘Oh, poor bird.’’

The same scene was played out as he lay in his bed at night, only this time, after I had told him the bird wouldn’t be coming back, he lifted his head, pointed upwards and said: ‘‘He’s looking at me, dad!’’

Half expecting to to see the ghostly image of a bird, I looked up, only to be greeted by his gorilla poster.

Clearly, the ‘‘poor bird’’ had been forgotten about.