Tonight my son and I revisited the topic of death. It is something that he and I have already discussed.
I am not real sure where this is coming from and I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from him. I don’t think that there is anything unusual about his interest, but it is not the easiest conversation.
He asked me again to promise not to die and I told him that I couldn’t promise not to die, but that I could promise to make it years from now. I did my best to reassure him and it seemed to work.
Then he asked me to promise that mommy would not die. This was followed by questions about whether he would die and would it hurt. What hurt was even considering his death, I didn’t like talking about it, but I won’t ignore it.
We spent time talking about lifetimes and how every living thing has a lifetime in which it lives. And we spent some time talking about it from a spiritual perspective as well.
I will not lie to him and make promises that I cannot keep. G-d willing I am not going to die anytime soon, but if I do I don’t want him to remember abba as having made promises that he cannot keep.
As we were speaking he asked an interesting question. He wanted to know if my grandmother’s daddy died too. I said that he had. And then he wanted to know if she and her father died on the same day. It was another reminder that he pays attention to everything I do. It is an awesome responsibility.
Not awesome in the sense of being “cool” but awesome as in real awe. It was like being plunged into ice water, not that I ever truly forget that two little people are completely dependent upon me, but sometimes the edge is dulled a little.
My daughter is far too young for these conversations, so I have a little time to prepare for her. In the interim my son serves the same role I served my parents. As the eldest you pave the way for the younger siblings and you help train your parents in being parents.
A conversation like this cannot help but make you consider what life would be like without you. If I was taken from my children I know that my son will have some memories of me, but not enough. My daughter will know nothing but pictures, stories that friends/family relate and what she can garner from my writings, my collections of books, music and movies.
It cannot possibly give her a true measure of who I am. That is not ego, that is just honesty. Sometimes it is hard to get to know someone you live with, imagine how much more difficult it is to learn and understand someone you have do not remember spending time with.
If my life ends today I will not worry about the physical well-being of my children. They will not be homeless, they will not lack for loving, but they will not have direct access to their father’s love and that does make me sad.
I don’t have any reason to worry about death. I am not aware of any medical condition or anything else, just aware that it is possible. Our lives are fleeting and it is important to understand that so that you can appreciate the time that you have to live.
Live your life and be an active participant in it. Enough on this, time for bed.
Lailah Tov from Los Angeles.