Thursday, September 19, 2013

Questioning the Undiscovered Country

"To die will be an awfully big adventure" - James Barrie, Peter Pan

We still haven't had a real conversation about death.  Not really.

She understands that if you pick a flower, it dies eventually and isn't pretty anymore.  She understands there are no dinosaurs anymore, but beyond that, really?  No, not really, I don't think she understands at all.

I am waiting to have a real, deep conversation about death until she asks me, or until life circumstances force the conversation upon me, which just hasn't happened yet.

But yesterday she asked me about a word in a song she didn't recognize: Heaven.  So I explained that Heaven is a place people go when they die.  Short and simple.  She seemed fine with that concept and didn't ask me any more questions.

Sometimes we operate this place on a need-to-know basis.  If she had asked more questions, I would have answered them as best I can, but since the universe isn't very forthcoming on answers about the afterlife, that's not easy.  The undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, death is literally shrouded in mystery.  And at 3, I don't think her mind is ready for that deep, questioning line of thought that Hamlet started down so long ago. 

I learned after my first completely sleepless night in parenting that the magic formula to make this job work as smoothly as possible under any circumstances is to keep it simple.  So we will keep this discussion simple while her mind accepts a simple answer.  Later?  Well, I'll let tomorrow look after itself for now. 

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