Why My 7 Year Old’s Imaginary Friend Had to Die

We had a funeral today in our home for Millie. Millie is my 7 yr old’s imaginary friend. Millie had a tragic swordfish accident this morning. Terrible really. And not at all unusual if you know that Millie is a mermaid with long flowing hair and a pink shell bra and a beautiful blue tale. So naturally she would occasionally run into nasty swordfish and this one got her right in the heart. “Pierced right through it mom,” says my 7 yr old.

So we had a funeral. We were all asked to say a few words and there were fake flowers and real tears. But the tears were not for Millie. A little background for you:. Berlyn’s best friend moved to a new house this summer. Berlyn has been extremely upset by this. So upset that she was even hearing voices. A play-date with the friend (she didn’t move very far) and no more voices. Problem solved, right?

She even went to camp for the first time this summer. I was proud. I thought maybe we were over this hill. There was many a night when it would hit her and we had to start over but I thought we were going downhill.

Silly me. Today was the first day of school. Without her bestie. It’s still her school with her other friends but it’s not the same. So the real tears tonight were for letting go. The funeral for Mille was for letting go. She had to accept that her friend had moved and things will be a bit different this year. New teacher, new grade, new friends. And some old ones too.

I remind her of the neighbor girl who just moved in and how hard it was for her to go to a new school today. I remind her of her big heart and the supplies she willingly gave up so that this new friend could have a few supplies as she did not have any yet. I remind her that this is what a good friend looks like. Giving supplies and support on the first day to another anxious child. I remind her we will have her bestie over soon and that her bestie has probably had a hard first day in her new school too. We cry. We pray. She falls asleep holding my hand.

And then I cry big tears for a broken heart. For a heart that hurts. Sometimes not even mommy can kiss away the hurt. I cry because I have to let her go through this change in life. We all have to go through change. We all have to say goodbye at some point.

I laugh because I also have to roll with the punches. If she wants to have a funeral for an imaginary friend that we never heard about until today (I think Millie was actually on a Disney sitcom), then so be it if it helps her heal. And she will heal. Her pierced-right-through-the-heart will go on.

Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same

And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye

-Patty Loveless – How Can I Help Y

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2 thoughts on “Why My 7 Year Old’s Imaginary Friend Had to Die

  1. This was how I felt when Lily lost her bestie last year. I grieved with her and my heart aches when I see that look on her face sometimes when the hurt shows back up. I HATE having to let my kids go through the hard knocks of life all by herself, even if I know they need to in order to shape their own paths and follow God’s will.

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