It was about nine o’clock at night, and we were packing all the kids into the minivan after a long evening at an outdoor party. Sleepy and comfortably ensconced in her carseat, my then three-year-old daughter suddenly chirped:
"My daddy died!"
Slightly startled, we assured her that her father was alive, well, and packing up the trunk. Assuming that this was just a weird dream, we didn’t give the statement much thought – until she said it again another day.
For the next three or four months, my daughter, using a matter-of-fact tone, would start discussing her father’s "death" with many different people, including her daycare provider and family friends. Time and time again, people pointed out that her father was perfectly healthy – and often standing right there in the room with her. She acknowledged this, but indicated that she was referring to someone else, not my husband.