This past Friday my daughter lost her Paw Paw to a combination of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It's not necessarily her first brush with death. Her daycare had several class pets die and erected a little graveyard called the Garden of the Fallen Tree where they had small funerals. She knows that she's named after a friend of mine and my wife's who passed away a decade ago, but this is the first time that I've had to explain to her that someone she loved was simply not going to be on the planet anymore.
It's one of those defining parent moments, and as usual I muddled through with a combination of improvisation and the fact that a five-year-old is much smarter than me. She seems to accept it well, and as I often do I compile the things I learned from my mistakes and present them to you in hopes you'll do better.