Friday, 4 May 2012


Tonight Deaglan was gaining major momentum on the swing in our backyard. I put my foot down a few weeks ago and refused to push him every single time; I reminded him that he knew how to do it himself. Frankly, it was cutting into my Facebook time.

I mean wasn’t it enough that I was out there “watching” him and his brother play?

So there we were, Deaglan swinging, Naveen climbing, and me browsing when out of the blue Deaglan asks if he will go to Heaven when he dies. It doesn’t faze me though - it’s a carryover conversation from last week when I thought the cat wasn’t coming home from his two day stint at the vet. At the time I felt compelled to prep Deaglan for the worst, explain that Crash might die. But the cat ended up pulling through – turns out he had an abscess in his mouth where he’d lost a tooth. The vet rehydrated him, pumped him full of antibiotics and for 600 bucks sent him on his way with a prescription for morphine, more antibiotics and pricey canned food.

So when Deaglan asked me tonight if he’d go to Heaven after he died, I looked up from the Blackberry tablet and answered without skipping a beat:


“But how will I get there?”

“You’ll float.”

“What about my skin, will my skin go to Heaven?”

“No, your body won’t go, that’s the part that gets buried, remember?” He’s flying on that swing now. I notice he really needs a haircut.

“UNDER the ground? Even my feet?” His face is fascination and worry.

“Listen,” I say, “when you die, your body stops working. You don’t walk or talk anymore. You don’t need to eat; you don’t have to go to school.”

“But Mommy, I don’t want to die. What about my PARENTS? I don’t want to leave my PARENTS!”

“You won’t die for a long, long time and besides Mommy and Daddy will die way before you.” Lord help me.

Sharp intake of breath and furrowed brows but still soaring. “YOU'RE going to die?”

“No, no, not for a long, long time. Please, you don’t have to worry honey, just keep swinging.”

Naveen is now tired of going head first down the slide and is swinging from a wooden beam on the playscape. Shaune’s right, this kid’s gonna  keep us on the edge of our seats, show up with a motorcycle when he’s fourteen.

I don’t know what else to say about dying.

I know his four year old mind is trying to sort out the logistics, but I never had a plan for this conversation except that I like the idea of Heaven. I like the idea of God. I really like the idea of this not being all there is.

Once in a while he mentions Uncle Matt, reminds me that my brother died and is in Heaven. I’m always oddly grateful. It’s nice not to be the one to have to bring him up, to share a memory out loud even if it’s with a four year old who barely knew him.

I interrupt our talk so I can devise ways to lure Naveen down. It’s enough, all this talk of dying. Thank goodness Deaglan thinks so too.


  1. A. I think it's awesome that your cat's name is Crash B. There is not better place than a swing set for a conversation about Heaven. C. I know what you mean about when a child brings up someone who has dies. When my niece talks about my dad, it's the sweetest thing ever, and I'm grateful for her cherished memories....

  2. Aren't these little minds starting to have some intense thoughts? Such grown up thoughts for young developing minds. I think you handled the conversation quite well.

    Plus, it is good to have those discussions about death and dying rather than people just "going away" or "going to sleep". Those saying can be quite scary to little kids when they realizing someone who is sleeping is never coming back. Good job, Mom! And good luck with your dare devil!

  3. I'm all for having frank, honest conversations with the kiddos about difficult subject matter (that includes teaching them the correct names of body parts as in, "that's called a penis, not a tail"). You handled Deaglan's questions beautifully!

  4. The death conversations are so tricky! They happen way too often too ;-)

    Ouch on your cat bill, but glad all is well.

  5. creative play is a prerequisit (is that spelled right?) of cognitive ability - both boys will be engineers. just have a plan ready to get the broken bones to the hospital....Lol

  6. Kids seem to hit both death and sex questions before you are ready for them to. I remember when my son went through a phase of saying things like, "When you die, can I have this bookshelf." And I"d always say, "Honey, when I die, you and your brother get everything. But that won't be for a long time."

  7. My 5-year old has been asking about death and dying lately too. It breaks my heart.

  8. Kim, you did great!! Such a tough subject and you handled the conversation with grace while navigating Naveen's gymnastics...I remember those beginning talks with Noah, oh, and the multiple sex talks over the years too...geesh! :)

  9. Priceless and precious!! Those are the words that come to mind when I read about your dear boys, Kim:) Wonderful post!

  10. I think you did a great job. And $600. Ouch.

  11. That's a really tough subject and you handled it very well. It is a subject that I dance around often with my kids.


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