Tag Archives: death

No Escape: A Poem

She waits.
In the silence of her room
And the silence of her mind
She waits for that which comes.

Like nightfall.
Inevitable, irrevocable
Insidiously innate
It creeps over her.

A curse.
It slides through her mind
It steals over her flesh
Destroying all it finds.

The end.
With unrepenting doom
It sinuously slithers
Closer – ever closer.

I yearn.
To take away this baneful curse
To save her from its pain
And see her free from harm.

Helpless.
Powerless to change her world,
Powerless to stand in the way,
Of all that she fears.

We wait.
There is no defence,
There is no escape,
From time.

Hourglass

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Conversations with Children: Pros and Cons of Reincarnation

(Note: I wouldn’t normally post two ‘Conversations with Children’ in a row, but I didn’t want to forget this conversation.)

2012-12-12 December Import 010

We’re in the car, where so many of our conversations seem to happen. Six-year-old Big Brother has been quiet for a while, thinkingthinkingthinking.  And then the question.

“Mummy, after I die will I come back and be born again?”

As often happens, I find myself mentally pinwheeling. What should I say? What’s the right answer? I don’t even know what I think about reincarnation beyond a vague sense of generic maybe-ness, but my son is looking to me for reassurance and understanding. How do I answer this question with honesty, simplicity, and compassion?

“Well,” I say slowly. “You might.”

“Do people come back again as babies after they die?”

“Some people do,” I say, struggling to put my hitherto unspoken thoughts into words. “Sometimes people choose to come back and be born again, and sometimes people choose to stay dead and live in the Afterlife.”

“I’m going to be born again,” says the boy who was born with the most ancient, knowing eyes I’ve ever seen. “And when I am, if people give me another name I’m going to tell them they’re wrong and I already know my name. I’ll be Big Brother forever.”

I smile. “Will you?”

“Yes.” A pause. Hesitation. “Can I do that?”

“Well,” I say again, my mind racing but my voice calm and measured. “Usually when people are born they don’t remember if they had another life before. So you might not remember your name, because you’d come back as a baby.”

“Oh,” he says. “But… When you die, are you going to choose to come back?”

The questions keep coming, and I don’t know where the conversation is going, and I’m feeling a little scared. Of what, I don’t know.

“I might,” I say.

“Then we can come back together. I don’t want to be born to someone else. I always want you to be with me. So when you come back, I’ll just wait in the Afterlife until you’ve grown up to an adult and then you can born me again. Okay?”

“Okay,” I say. I can’t say anything else. I’m fighting back tears of… of something I can’t name, and trying to drive, and trying not to sound like I’m… like I’m feeling whatever I’m feeling.

“How many days will that take?” my beautiful son asks.

“How many days will what take?”

“How many days will it take for you to be a grown-up?”

“Um. Quite a few.”

He thinks. “I’ve changed my mind,” he says. “I don’t want to be away from you  for lots of days. We should both just not be born again and stay in the Afterlife. Then we can be together forever and ever and ever.”

He reaches his hand towards me at the same moment I reached mine back to him.

“I love you, Mummy,” he says.

And the tears flow, whether I want them to or not.

 

 

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Because She’s a God and a Mother

It’s nearly a year since Big Brother asked whether he was going to die one day. Since that first conversation, we’ve had many more. Questions about life and death pop up every few months, inspired by something Big Brother has seen or heard, or just thoughts that have taken a while to process.

About six months ago, he was cuddling with his father when he asked the latest in this line of questions. “Are you and Mummy going to die?”

My wonderful husband handled the question with apparent ease. “One day,” he said. “Everyone and everything dies eventually. But Mummy and I aren’t going to die any time soon. We’ll be here with you for a long, long time.”

My little boy considered that for a minute and then asked, “But what happens if you’re not? What happens if you die? Who will look after me and Little Brother?”

My husband took Big Brother’s hands and looked at him seriously. “Well, you know Auntie Jak?”

“Yes.”

“Auntie Jak is your godmother. That means that if something happens to Mummy or I, and we can’t look after you for some reason, Auntie Jak will look after you.”

Big Brother nodded, letting this sink in for a minute. “She’s our godmother?”

“That’s right.”

Another brief pause. “What’s a godmother?”

My husband smiled. “A godmother is a very special person. She’s another grown-up who loves you as much as Mummy and Daddy love you, and will always be there to help you and to look after you. So if we can’t be with you, Auntie Jak will be.”

Big Brother smiled. “So is she like a fairy godmother?”

“A bit. But without the fairy part.”

This seemed to satisfy Big Brother and he left happy. That was the last we heard about the subject for months. And then, out of the blue…

I was driving home. Big Brother was in the back seat. Quiet. We’d just spent some time at the library and were on our way home. I was enjoying the rare moment of peace, my thoughts running hither and thither like rabbits on crack. They were brought to a sudden halt by a voice from behind me.

“What was that?” I asked Big Brother, not sure if I’d heard him right.

He repeated himself. “I didn’t know that Auntie Jak was a God.”

“A God?” I repeated.

“Yes,” said Big Brother seriously. “Auntie Jak is a God.”

I fought back the urge to giggle uncontrollably, imagining the look on my sister’s face if she was told that she was a God, and racked my brain trying to figure out what he meant. “Oh,” I said after a minute. “You mean she’s your godmother?”

“Yes. And she’s a God,” said Big Brother confidently.

So much for my moment of peace! I spent the rest of the trip home alternately stifling laughter and re-explaining the concept of a godmother to my boy. And this time, he got it.

Or so I thought.

We were running late for school last week, but Big Brother desperately wanted to talk to his Nana and wish her a good morning. We jumped in the car, and I dialled my mother’s number, put my phone on speaker, and handed it back to BB.

The two of them exchanged normal pleasantries for a while.What are you doing today? What’s the weather like there? Have you been doing anything fun?

And then, out of nowhere, Big Brother says, “Did you know that when I die, Auntie Jak is going to be there with me?”

“Oh?” said Nana, clearly not really knowing what he was talking about.

“Yes,” said Big Brother, with all the seriousness of youth. “That’s because she’s a God and a mother.”

Yeah.

I think we still have some explaining to do.

You have some explaining to do...

 

 

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