Ever since we took my son to see Bolt…TWICE…
Or…it COULD BE Coraline…
My son has been living in fear of dying.
To the point of preoccupation.
Thank you, rated G movies. You rawk.
But, he has been CONSTANTLY bringing up the subject of death. And G-D.
Asking a bazillion questions.
For example, he wants to know why can’t you stop having birthdays. Because the more birthdays you have, the older you get, and then…you die.
He asks me why does he have to go to school. Because the more you go to school, the older you get…and then you die.
He questions G-Ds appearance. To which I answer him with the description that has always been with me. An old bald guy, with a really long beard. Dressed in clouds and white robes. Holding a wooden staff. OK…so that is left over from my childhood imagination. But it paints a nice, calming picture, no?
He questions G-Ds kindness. And I answer, how can a man dressed in clouds be anything but gentle, loving and kind.
So, after the 20 questions.
And me… answering the best I can.
Because it’s a precarious situation, trying to explain death to a young child.
You don’t want them to think that the minute they get sick, they will die.
And you don’t want to say anything that will make growing old a scarier event than it already is.
So it’s a pretty sticky situation. One which I am not that capable of answering very well.
Usually, my standard response is…
Don’t worry so much about dying. Worry about enjoying the really long life you have ahead of you.
Or, I make reference to his 95 year old Great Grandmother, who is in perfect health. Well, as perfect as you can be at that age.
This calms him. Just a little.
Until, he starts fretting again.
About what happens to all the people that die.
How do they all fit up in heaven.
And how do new people get made…which is an ENTIRELY different conversation altogether. One that he’ll have to wait a couple more years to get a more detailed answer than…a special hug…
He is curious about what will happen to his house when he dies. Will it come with him to heaven.
And I tell him that there will be a house, made of clouds, that looks like ours.
And he smiles.
Then…he wants to know…
will G-D let him bring all of his super hero action figures with him when he goes to heaven.
Because he is assuming that, even when he gets really old and dies, that he’ll still be living at home with his Mommy.
And he figures, if that’s the case, that he’ll still be playing with all of his action figures.
To which I usually reply, with my fingers crossed tightly behind my back…
Of course G-D will let you bring your toys to heaven.
I can almost guarantee that even the cloud wearing, cane baring, kind G-D…
Does NOT want the complete and utter mess that all those action figures make.
But I don’t want to make the situation worse than it already is.
How do you talk to your children, at any age, about death?
Because really, it’s becoming an issue. And the books that I have checked out of the library, don’t calm his fears. They don’t really even touch on the questions that he has.
So what…do YOU do?