“Did you know that 1500 people died when the Titanic sunk 103 years ago? It’s so sad.”
These are the words my five-year-old says to just about anyone who will listen to him. He can tell you all about the submarines that have explored the remains of Titanic. He can tell you about the artifacts that have been recovered. He’ll gladly tell you about how the ship sunk, in detail – from hitting the iceberg to splitting in two.
“Please can I watch the Titanic videos?” he pleads, fidgeting with interest as I try to bring up the YouTube video that digitally represents the sinking. I try to change the subject to happier, more age-appropriate topics but it’s no use.
Why did the ship sink, Mama? All of those people – they all died. That’s so sad. Did the kids die too, Mama? Why did they die? I wish it hadn’t sinkeded. I wish they hadn’t died.
It’s as hard for me to explain the big tragedies as it is the little ones. From why 1500 people, including kids younger than him, had to die to why we moved again, and he demands answers because that’s what five year olds do. They question.
A friend of mine recently told me it’s “weird” and “unhealthy” that I feed his interest in the Titanic. Don’t tell him that kids died, she insists, he’ll never want to get on a boat again.
I love history – and like it or lump it, tragedies make for fascinating study. On my bookshelf, you’ll find six books related to the Holocaust and several others on the World Wars and ancient history. F watches documentaries with me. And soon, we’ll be reading Titanic books together – because I’m stocking up on as many kid-friendly books as I possibly can.
When I asked F what he wanted our first “big date” back in Halifax to be, he told me he wanted to go and see the Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the dinosaur exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.
And then, he wants to go to Mable Slab for ice cream.