I recently joked about my daughter laying claim to my heels when I’m dead. Little does she know that by then my shoes will be terribly out of style. That’s not funny, some may say. That’s right, it’s not funny. It’s hysterical.
Lately, all of the children have been fascinated with my inevitable demise. Sneaking hard questions in between the incoherent ramblings and utterances of child-like innocence.
“Can we have a snack? Do you think Fiona is going to stay an Ogre forever? Do you wash your hair EVERY day? Are you going to die?”
*Insert audible throat kerfuffle*
I explain that death is just another part of being alive. That, everything that lives and breathes must also die and rest. After the one-thousandth questioning, I threw in that death was a mystery.
“What’s a mystery?”
“Well, it’s something you can’t explain. It’s like how the inside of a Hot Pocket can only be ice cold or surface of the sun hot. There is no explanation. There are only more questions.”
The Hot Pocket analogy seemed to tide them over until the next day.
My son, in particular, has been enthralled with the idea of death. Head cocked, I see the wheels turning in his brain, picking apart the anatomy of death like a crow on prey. Leaving nothing but the bones after a swirl of questions that leaves him satiated and me, searching for wine.
“Mama, will you be VERY old when you die?”
“I hope so.”
“Will I be very old?”
“I want nothing more than that.”
“Will you die before me?”
“I hope so.”
“I will miss you.”
“I will miss you too.”
“What’s for dinner?”
And, like that, life returns and pizza must be made. Ok, pizza must be ordered and, the constant reminder that life moves swiftly and the living must eat hangs from my legs, swings from my arms and chews on my shoulder. Death may always be at our heels, but, at least I will still be wearing mine tomorrow with care not to scuff the toes so eldest has something snazzy, yet appropriate, to wear to my funeral.
Embracing my mortality one soft spoken question at a time. Hoping I’m helping them embrace it as well so that when it’s time for me to jump off the carousel, they gleefully stay put on their ponies for several thousand more turns.
Round and round we go. Where we stop, nobody knows.