Car conversations

We were doing the school drop off yesterday, when our HeartKid randomly came out with:

“My biggest worry is my heart surgery, Mum.

I hope I die before my surgery so I can go to heaven and have a heart that doesn’t need fixing anymore.”

And his eyes welled up with tears; a face full of sadness.

Oh man. We’ve had so many conversations similar to this before, but this one really grabbed me. It’s the first time he’s said he would rather die than get his heart fixed.

I’ve talked to him before about how his heart will be perfect in heaven, and he won’t need to get it fixed any more. We’ve talked about verses like:

‘Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later’ (Romans 8:18)

‘We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us…the new bodies he has promised us.’ (Romans 8:23)

‘For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.’ (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

But I didn’t mean this; I didn’t want him to want to die rather than get his heart fixed. Struggling to hold it together, I just said:

“I know. But I would really miss you if you weren’t here any more, so it would be great if you were here longer.”

Is that selfish? The wrong thing to say? The right thing to say? I have no idea. How I wish parenting a child with a serious health issue came with a manual.

He nearly always comes out with statements like this when we’re in the car. On the way to school drop off. When I least expect it. It used to make me dread the school run. But since he’s started seeing a psychologist and we’re on this six month break between cardiology appointments, a conversation like this hasn’t happened. Maybe that’s why it took me by surprise.

It’s so surreal to have a conversation like this, then drop my little 7 year old daughter off to school and move on with life like everything is normal. Like it was just another ‘everyday drive to school’.

It makes me wonder what other people talk about on the school run or when they drive their kids from place to place. Does everyone have hard conversations like this?

One thing I know for sure is that you never know what’s going on in people’s lives. There are so many hidden things. When that lady on the checkout is a bit grumpy with you, maybe she’s worried about how she’s going to pay her rent next week. When that Dad lets his kids play on his phone in a cafe, maybe his wife is in hospital with a terminal illness. When that Mum loses it with her kids in the street, maybe her husband has just left her. When that lady at work doesn’t seem quite like her usual self, maybe she’s been talking with her 5 year old son about dying instead of getting open heart surgery that morning.

I try and assume there is a reason most people do the things they do, and maybe the best thing for us to do is to consider that before we act or judge? Maybe we can even try and make that person’s day a little brighter? After all, a tiny act of kindness, even just a smile, isn’t hard to do. But it could be the one thing that changes that person’s day, or gives them just a moment of happiness.