The Boy has a very sensitive heart, and he asks a lot of questions. A little more than a year ago, he began asking about death. He knows my mother died; he’s seen pictures of her holding him as an infant and knows she doesn’t come to visit.
He asks a lot of questions about everything, after all, and Cute Husband and I do our best to give him honest, science-based (as much as we can) responses.
A few weeks ago, he asked what happens after someone dies. I explained that the body will decompose over time, unless it’s been cremated (as was the case for my mom), but that a person will always be with us in our minds and in our hearts. I stressed that everyone has to die at some point, and he was distressed that I would eventually die. And I repeated that even after I die, I’ll always be in his mind as long as he remembers me, and I’ll always be in his heart.
Tonight, he asked again about my mom and, more generally this time, why people have to die. I explained that if no one died, the world would have way too many people living on it, and that everyone has to die at some point because their bodies will just stop working.
“I miss your mom,” he said through tears.
“I miss her, too,” I said, wiping his eyes as I fought back tears of my own.
“But she’s in our hearts,” he declared simply before arranging himself in his bed.
I recounted the exchange in a text to Big Sis E and wrote: “It’s a reiteration of what I’ve told him, but I was still amazed he retained it and remembered. I don’t want him to be afraid of death (everything dies, after all), but I also don’t want to tiptoe around the subject.”
I think Mom would have been proud.