Buried in my backyard
So, I had the conversation yesterday. No, not the sex one. The one I did not think I would have with a 5 year old. And it happened quite unexpectedly, on a drive back from a swim lesson at the Y. It went a little something like this.
5 year old: Mama, my friend told me that if you water plants they will live forever. He said we can live forever too, if we eat well.
I was touched by how simplistic their worldview is. What I was not prepared for, was the turn this seemingly innocuous conversation decided to take.
Inquisitive son: I know that even if we eat well, we will die Mama. I don’t want to die.
Awkward silence, during which I was contemplating my answer. Then I learned why living was so important to my first born.
Son: If I die soon Mama, I cant play with my Transformers, and I really love them.
Wow, I was setting myself up for a nice aww moment, where he would tell me how much he loved me. Instead I get Autobots. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised. He is 5 after all. Anyway, this train of thought chugged on a little longer.
Relentless son: When do we die and why do we have to Mama?
Truth be told, I haven’t read a single parenting book or blog about how to approach the D talk, so I just winged it.
Clueless Mom: We are all born, and we all die. If we didn’t, the earth would be too crowded, don’t you think. And most people die when they are sick or really, really old. But now, a lot of people live till they’re 90, like your great grandma.
Honest 5 year old: But won’t she die soon? You just said people die when they’re old!
Mom: Errr…yes, but she practised healthy habits, so she can live longer now.
Son: Mama, when will you die?
Hmm… this just got way too personal. And I wasn’t prepared for any talk about exiting the planet.
Hapless mother: I will probable die when I get really old, and you and your brother will be all grown up by then.
Son: Then, what will happen to you? Will you be buried or will you turn to ash?
Well, that was an awfully specific question, I wasn’t expecting. I completely forgot about the ashes to ashes concept, I explained to him at Ash Wednesday mass, so he knew about cremation. He also did not understand resurrection at Easter, so I told him that after we die, we can come back to earth, just like Jesus. What I didn’t know was that it would come back to bite me in the behind.
Mom: Well, I guess I would like to be buried.
Pensive son: I guess that would be good Mama. If you turned to ash you can’t come back no?
Why is he thinking this all the way through? Why isn’t my 2 year old treating us to an impromptu rendition of ‘wheels on the bus’?And why is this 5 minute drive taking forever, today?
Completely perplexed mother: Yes, that’s true. If I am buried I could come back some day.
Son: Mama, when you die, I will be really tired.
Tired. Now, that’s a word I can get behind. I was tired of this conversation. Tired, thinking about my imminent death and burial. But wait. it didn’t stop there.
Poking the bear: Why would you be tired? Did you mean sad?
Son: No mama, my baby brother and I would be tired digging a hole for you.
Isn’t that nice, in a morbid sort of way. My sons will dig a hole for me. What he said next, completely blew my mind.
Thoughtful son: Mama, I think we will bury you under our mud patch in the garden, where we play now .So then, we can ‘undig’ you when your’e ready to come back.
Buried in my backyard. There’s no place like home, I guess!
And FINALLY, I attained salvation. We reached home, and my boys asked me for some juice, like kids usually do.
But I left the car, quite changed by that conversation. I now know where I’m spending eternity, and I love the location!