Monday, March 10, 2008
We've been talking a lot about death around here lately. Jack asked one day as we were driving around if he was going to die someday. I said yes and then he howled "Ohhhhhhhh" and then started firing the questions at me. "Is Grandma going to die.." Grandpa? how about his friend Maya? Stella? on and on we went with a few more "Ohhhh's" and "Noooo's" and "Why's". I reassured him it wouldn't be for a long time and it's all a part of living and really whatever else I could think of. Stella just wanted to know if she could still wear pink when she died. The questions kept coming and finally ended with "Is daddy going to die" and then "Are you going to die". As I was fielding these questions I knew I was not comfortable, and after about 10 minutes as each name was asked I found myself choked up and fighting back tears straining out my answers through a tight throat. I have never been comfortable with the subject of death. I feel a slight panic start to take over me when I think of my own death so really I just avoid the subject most of the time. I believe in God and a afterlife, in a heaven fully supplied with dark chocolate and beaches but somehow this hasn't cured me of my fears. I have been forced the last few weeks to talk about it with the kids. To answer their questions to the best of my ability and not change the subject or tell them we don't need to talk about it because we are all young. It's been a sort of therapy for me. I recently read about a wise old man in Bhutan who advised an American man to think of his own death for 5 minutes a day. Americans don't touch death or see it or smell it, we are out of touch he said and therefore scared. I've been forced to do this now for a couple weeks thanks to my kids and I can say I'm still spooked but I see a tiny change in me. An acceptance starting to form, I am staring to look forward to our death talks, I'm sorting out what my beliefs really are and starting to for the first time look at my fear, and try to not pass it onto my kids.