Posted on Friday, July 9, 2010
in Family, Philosophy
Sometimes when I’m walking around and talking to myself, as you do, I like to rehearse possibly awkward conversations I’ll hopefully be having with my kids someday. The facts of life mainly… it’s important to practice these things so that when the time comes I’ll be cool and nonchalant and not a giggle-suppressing wreck when explaining what a vas deferens is.
Then there’s the question of life, death, and that whole afterlife thing, which Puppychild blindsided me with last night.
Out of the blue, she asked me why my grandparents were dead. Then she asked me when her own grandparents would die and asked if they wouldn’t rather stay alive forever instead.
“Everybody dies.” I explained, in a roundabout way.
The information sank in slowly and I watched as she bonded with the rest of humanity and the millions who have gone before us, fearful enormity plopped onto her shoulders like a big bag of spuds and I felt sad for her. Her teddybear’s lip began to quiver. I explained to her that she must try to stay happy, to love every minute she has with her Grandad and Granny instead of worrying about their demise. The information was absorbed and absolved.
“But what happens to you when you die?”
I told her that we dissolve and turn into skeletons and get chewed into dust and soil. There seemed no point in mincing words, I figured it was better for her to learn it from me, rather than learn it from maggotty dead roadkill at some point in the future. I softened the blow by telling her that flowers and trees grow from soil, life from life, life from death, that sort of thing. It seemed to work.
Then I explained about Buddhist theories of re-incarnation and she chose that she should return in the next life as a puppy. No surprise there then.
I didn’t get to explain about heaven, for she had fallen asleep by then. I’m not sure whether this is a pity or not, she didn’t mention the subject again until lunchtime when I mentioned we’d be visiting Grandad.
“Grandad’s gonna die!” she said cheerfully.
This means she’s now either a psychopath, or she’s figured out the meaning of life. Either way I become famous, which is nice.