Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Can I play with Andreas, mom?"

By Kirsten Nour Namskau

My son was 8 years old, when he one day came into the kitchen and asked: “Mom, can I play with Andreas?”
I looked at him with surprise and said: “Why do you ask that. I have never restricted you from playing with anyone, have I?”
“But you see, mom” he continued “Andreas has AIDS. He has been in hospital for an appendix operation, and they gave him blood-transfusion with AIDS-infected blood. So now, he has AIDS.”
I looked at the main-door area where Andreas was standing. He immediately was on his way out, when I called him back.
“Andreas, you don’t have to leave . . . of course Tord-Asle can play with you.”
(I have my opinion about AIDS, and I believe that if children take AIDS, it is something else going on, and the parents will get the information, that this kind of AIDS is not contagious. A later talk with Andreas’s mother supported my belief, when she told me that the doctor had given her exactly that information.)
Andreas had lost all his friends. He even was denied attending school. Everybody started to look at him with fear, but he came to play with my son at his room.
After a while it became more convenient that my son went to his place where they played.
As the months passed, Andreas stared to become weaker, but my son went to him every day to play with him.
At a point, Andreas felt too weak to play, but he enjoyed watching my son play in front of him.
One day my son came to me and said: “Mom, I don’t know what I can do for Andreas. It feels awkward to play alone every day.”
I told him: “Maybe you can tell him stories and fairytales?”

My son was very articulated, and always used to make face-expression, voices and gesticulations with his hands going with the story, so he was actually good in telling stories.
He went to Andreas and was happy that Andreas really enjoyed him telling stories which brought him to laugh.

Again, some weeks later, my son came to me and said: “Mom, Andreas likes me to tell stories, but now he is too weak to laugh. He says it hurts in his chest, if he laughs.”
I looked at my son and asked if he had told Andreas the story about the stars? Because then Andreas didn’t have to laugh.
“No,” my son said “But that is a good idea, but I’m not sure if I remember it all correct. Can you tell the story for me one more time, mom?”
I told him the story one more time and happily he went to Andreas.
That became the favourite story to Andreas. He wanted my son to tell the story over and over again every day and my son enjoyed to tell it.
One day my son came home and told me that Andreas had been too weak to have visitors, so his mom had told my son to wait for a week.

After a couple of weeks, I asked my son: “ Have you seen Andreas lately, Tord-Asle?”
My son looked at me and said: “No, but I will go up to him today and see if he is better.”
After a while, he came crying home and told me that Andreas’s mother had told him that Andreas was dead 7 days ago.
My son had asked why they had not told him, so he could come to the funeral and take the last “goodbye” with Andreas?”
Andreas’s mother had told him that funeral was not for children.

“But, “ my son said “ now I feel so bad, because I have not taken farewell with Andreas.”
I told him to go up again and ask where Andreas was buried, so we could go and put some flowers on his grave and take the last farewell with Andreas.
After a while, my son again came crying home and said: “ Andreas’s mom, says the graveyard is not for children.”
The tears run down his cheeks as he was crying violently.

I took him in my arms and said: “ Tord-Asle, do you know what you shall do? You shall go back again to Andreas’s home and ask if you can take farewell with Andreas there, in their home. “ ”Ask if you can get a photo of Andreas when he was healthy and in a state you want to remember him.” I continue “Put the photo in front of you and talk to Andreas as if he is there. Tell him his favourite story about the stars for last time and take farewell. Will you?”

My son was happy for the idea and left to take farewell with his best friend.
Later that day, Andreas’s mother called me and told me what had happened. . . .

My son had come to the door for third time that day. When she opened the door, he had fast said: “Please don’t close the door. Can I please come in because it is something I want to say?”
Both the parents of Andreas were at home and when my son came in, he asked if he could take farewell with Andreas there in their home.
They had finally understood his need of taking farewell and let him in. He asked for a photo of Andreas, which they gave to him.
He had put it in front of himself. He looked at the photo of Andreas and said: “Andreas, I don’t know if you can hear me, but I want to take the last farewell with you. I want to tell you that you were my best friend and that I will miss you.”
He continued: “Andreas, I don’t know if you can hear me, but I want to tell you your favourite story for last time . . . OK?”

He started to tell the story:” Andreas, do you know what the starts in the sky really are? Forget about other planets and meteorites . . . . I mean the real stars? Yes, you see, that is small holes in The Heavens floor. As God has gone from room to room in His Kingdom for thousands and thousand of years, the Sheppard’s-stick he is using has made small holes in The Heavens floor. Through these small holes, the people on earth can take a glimpse of the glory in God’s Kingdom.
And do you know what? All people on earth will one or another time get an invitation to God’s Kingdom, some soon, some later, but we will all get an invitation . . . . . . “

My son stopped for a moment, then continued: “Andreas, it seems that you got your invitation before me, but when I get my invitation, we will meet again. Then we again will be the best friends . . . . OK?”

He looked at the photo of Andreas. Then suddenly it was as if he could hear Andreas’s voice whisper in his ear: “Yes, Tord-Asle, you are indeed my best friend.”
He rushed up from the chair and called out in the air: “ Andreas, are you here? If you are, I only wanted to say good-bye, and that I hope you are not sick any more. “

Then all three of them suddenly could feel a kind of warmth coming over them. They all had a cry together, but at the same time they got a kind of silent peace in their mind.

Andreas’s mother also told me, that they had been so fortunate to feel Andreas’s present a last time and therefore also they could take a second farewell, which had soothed their mind.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it unfortunate how adults have a taboo about talking about death? Adults never really feel comfortable expressing their feelings or thoughts about this subject. We can all learn something from the innocence and heartfelt expressions of children.

Anonymous said...

Andrea lost his friends, but found his best friend.

The last goodbye was sad and sweet. It moved me to tears.

MrsJoseGoldbloom said...

Beautiful Kirsten...I had to wipe my eyes a few times while reading it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that story Kirsten.
When I was in kindergarten my best friend was killed in a car accident. Nobody ever let me say goodbye or even discussed the issue with me.

I believe it's selfishness and fear that make children suffer needlessly.

infinitesimal said...

was this your own child?
Thanks for taking the time to write.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

yes, it was my son who took farwell with his friend who had AIDS.