Those of you who have read The Wisdom to Know the Difference may remember Sophie, who thought she was dying of leukemia and then had a remarkable full recovery after coming to complete peace. Well, here’s a piece of her interview that never made it into the book, even though I was very touched by this story:
Near the end of our interview, Sophie told me with some urgency that there was one more story she had to share. She had been visiting her grandchildren when her two youngest granddaughters, ages five and six, pulled her aside in secret. The six-year-old sat her down and said, “We know that you’re going to die soon, Grammy.”
“You do?” Sophie asked, astonished because the girls had not been told about her cancer.
“We do,” said the little girl. “And Grammy, it’s OK. It’s really OK because you’re going to be an angel. It’s going to be lonely, Grammy, but you will be there for us.” Then the girls said, “The sad thing is, our mothers are not ready to hear this, so please don’t tell them.” Sophie said she wouldn’t and asked the girls what they would do. “Don?t worry,” they said, “When you die, we will take care of our mothers.”
Although many people would have found such a conversation with their grandchildren painful or awkward, Sophie was deeply moved and joyful. She concluded our interview saying, “I’ve been given so much. See, I could have gone home and died the next week. I thought, “That’s all I need. They have given me permission to die. What more could you want?”
How often do we underestimate our children’s wisdom or their ability to see us more clearly than we see ourselves?