Hard Questions- Death, Children & More
Before we begin here is a snapshot of what I have been listening to this evening.
Crazy Train-Ozzy Osbourne
Girls, Girls, Girls– Motley Crue
Home Sweet Home– Motley Crue
Life is Beautiful-Sixx:A.M.
Bulls On Parade – Rage Against The Machine
Run To The Hills– Iron Maiden
Tales of Brave Ulysses– Cream
Can’t Find My Way Home– Blind Faith
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance
Now) -C & C Music Factory
The Power- Snap
Who’ll Stop The Rain-Creedence Clearwater Revival
When I first tried to write this post I was far too fired up to do it justice. So instead of forcing myself to sit down and write I headed out to the garage and went to work on the heavy bag. Decided not to wrap my hands and just threw on the gloves.
Started out slowly just throwing a few jabs. Circled right and circled left. Gradually began to throw combinations and developed a rhythm. As the music played I followed along and soon I found myself lost in the moment. It didn’t take long for me to start swinging from the heels. It felt good to just unload upon the bag.
I am not real big on sparring as I tend to look unkindly upon those who try to hit me, even in the not so friendly confines of the ring. From time to time to I have done it, but inevitably I find that it aggravates me. I don’t care if I wearing gloves, if we are swinging at each other my goal is to put you down because I don’t want to get hurt.
But that is all narishkeit that I throw out in advance of this post. It was a long week. At times it was really hard. I find davening to be really hard. I find myself questioning so many things that I once believed in. I find myself being forced to try and answer really tough questions and so here I am.
The big kid and I had a few more conversations about death. If you have spent any time hanging out here you know that it is has happened before. I don’t have the energy to go through the archives and give a thorough list, but I’ll grab a few:
Physically and Emotionally Exhausted- The Blogger Blogs
The People You Love Most
Death Visits Again- Cremation Story
Daddies Love Their Sons- Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker Edition
Explaining Death to Children
He asks good questions. They aren’t ridiculous, they are appropriate and I find myself working hard to give solid answers. Let’s take a quick look at a few of them.
1) Do they tear the flesh off of you when you die. Skeletons don’t have any skin.
2) How much does it hurt to die?
3) Are you afraid to die?
4) Will G-d kill us before Yom Kippur if we aren’t good?
5) Why do people die and why do some people live longer?
(BTW, I really like Burn from The Crow Soundtrack)
My usual strategy is to turn the question around and ask him what he thinks. It gives me a moment to try and determine what he knows and formulate an appropriate answer.
For example I told him that when you die your skin begins to rot and that eventually it falls off. I explained that it is not painful, but he was a little freaked out by this.
His second question was tough because he has learned enough to know that you don’t always die peacefully. When I asked him what he thought he told me that he thought that getting blown up or hit by a bus would really hurt. I asked him where he learned about those two options and he told me the news.
Note to self: the big guy reads the newspaper so not turning on the television news or radio is not so effective. Can’t say that I am totally surprised by this. In fact one of the reasons that I get the paper is because I want the children to learn to read it. I want them to do more than rely solely upon the net. I want them to read multiple news sources, but that is a discussion for a different day.
Anyhoo, while I really do enjoy these conversations with Little Jack they sometimes take a lot out of me. I suppose that it is because sometimes he hits me with questions that I don’t really know the answer to or am not real sure about.
Let’s take this a bit farther. I don’t fear death. I don’t know what happens afterwards. I think that there is an afterlife. I think that I am going to have a part of it, but I don’t really know. And I truly don’t believe that I am going to spend eternity in some sort of supernatural punishment.
All that being said, I just don’t fear death. I don’t really know what is going to happen and I won’t until that day arrives so I just don’t worry about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to die. I have an awful lot to do so death would be quite inconvenient, but that is neither here nor there.
At the moment the big guy is nervous about dying so my concern is assuaging that concern. I don’t want him to waste energy worrying about it. So I do my best to keep him calm. It is not an ongoing conversation. It has come up every so often and usually it is tied into some other event. Since he has been learning about Yom Kippur I am sure that it triggered this current moment.
Kids have a built in B.S. detector and I get the feeling that he is not buying what I am trying to sell about death. He says that if he can’t see it or touch it he is not convinced that it exists. I can’t totally fault him for this either.
And that ties into his question about lifespans. He won’t accept simple explanations and in a way that makes me very happy. But it doesn’t necessarily help solve his dilemma about why sometimes good people die early and bad people don’t.
Ok, this post has gone on long enough. Time to hit something else.