Sweet Boy and I were riding in the car last week with both cats wailing in the back seat. We were on our way to the animal shelter for annual shots, when the discussion turned to the cat we had put to sleep before SB was born. "Simon the Cat is dead now?" Sweet Boy asked. "Yes, baby, he's dead now, but he had a good life."
And I'm sure you can see where the conversation went from here:
SB: Mommy, are you going to die someday?[Oh. Lord. Help me. This is the conversation I've been dreading since I found out I was pregnant 5+ years ago! Take a breath, Mom, you can handle this...]
Me: Yes, honey, I'll die someday. But not until I'm much older and you're much older and we have a very long happy life together.
[Whew. Maybe that's enough...please let's talk about all the animals we'll see today...]
SB: OK. When you're old? Really old, like Great Gramma?[Which is an all-out lie. I am all too aware that even parents die too soon, but of course I can't say that to this sweet child who is working it all through right now.]
Me: Yes, honey, really old. Probably even older than Great Gramma.
SB: Is Great Gramma gonna die?[Because all of life's major lessons can be learned from Disney movies, right?]
Me: Someday, yes. Everyone dies someday. It's a part of life. Remember that movie The Lion King, when they talked about the circle of life?
SB: Oh. OK. So will I die too someday?[Oh crap. Don't go there!]
Me: Yes, honey. We all will die someday. But not for a long, long, long, long time. I promise. Please don't worry. What kinds of animals do you think we'll see today? Do you think they'll have any guinea pigs at the shelter this time?[Divert! Divert!]
SB: Hmph. I don't want to die, Mommy. That sounds sad. But will I go to heaven?Me: Yes, sweetie, you will go to heaven. And I believe heaven is a wonderful place where you have everything you ever dreamed of.[Oh my goodness. This is what I get for taking him to Sunday school, isn't it?]
SB: Will my Jodi Bear be there too?
Me: Yes. And you can eat whatever you want for dinner every day!
SB: Will God be there?
Me: Yes, babe, God will be there. Remember, you're a child of God? He'll be thrilled to see you in heaven.[Wow. Now we're getting into some Eastern philosophies, aren't we? OK, go with it, Mom.]
SB: And because God makes everything, he can remake me when I get to heaven, right?
Me: That's a nice idea, isn't it? You can get remade in heaven.
SB: Yeah. That would be cool. I can come back then and be your little boy again.
And this is the moment I had to pull over to take a breath and get myself together.