My 6 year old lost her beloved paternal grandfather recently. And in her attempts to understand, we ran the entire gamut from the metaphysical to the practical. But first, she wanted “Who will buy me books now?” came a plaintive query the second evening. See, Dadu and R shared a love for books and knock knock jokes and learning cat language.
“Has he become a star now?” This is my fault. 3 years ago, when my mother lost her battle with cancer, in my grief I grasped for the abstract and explained to her about loved ones turning into undying stars.
With the affirmative, came more questions.
“Will he meet Ammuma?”
“But how will he find her? What if they are in different places?”
Yes, this was a problem. I hoped blind faith in her mama would be enough — “they will find each other, darling.” Er…
R wore a look of suspicion that was fast turning rebellious. R is never too sure that people won’t get lost if there’s no map or mama to show the way. A challenge, then. What would happen when they eventually meet? Ah time to enact out the scene of Dadu and Ammuma having tea (green tea and sugary milk tea respectively) and Dadu telling her about how R reads “20 books in a day,” her violin playing, and “will he tell her I have learnt cursive handwriting all by myself?” and the discussion devolved into utter fluff involving bone crunching hugs and “20 kisses for you, mama.”
I thanked the stars for a total of 1 day.
“Do stars eat?”
An absent minded “Yeah.”
“How? They don’t have mouths.” A crash course in the Sun and the planets. Mama you are so silly mama. Rambles about stars and energy and mass and how they exist and how they die too. She looks thoughtful, her mouth curved in a straight line.
The night after the final rites are over — “I hate seeing Dida being alone.”
Tree cracked and mountain cried
Cells grew up and rivers burst
Stars die, blinding skies…