One of our hermit crabs died last week. It was little Billy – the one who endured being in the mouth of a 2 year old. He was such a little trooper. We decided to wrap him up and have a little burial. The kids were extremely curious about the whole topic of death.
They had so many tricky questions and interesting comments.
Why do people put dead bodies into the ground? Where does the person go after that? Why do people need to remember the dead people? When are you going to die? I don’t like heaven, it’s full of dead people. I don’t want to die. I’m going to live forever. How can I stop myself from dying?
I tried to answer as simply as possible. My heart was stuck in my throat. My chest was all tight and yet, tried not to seem so overwhelmed.
This is a summary of what I said :
When a person dies, their body stops working.
They put the person’s dead body in a special box, and put it into the ground, where it will slowly become part of the earth.
The body will turn into dirt and vitamins that help trees and plants grow. So in a way the body is becoming part of the life of the world.
All their friends and family have a special event to remember the person. They talk about how wonderful and special the person was to them.
It’s very important to remember people, because life is very precious. Everyone is special. You can learn lots of things from other people that will help you live your life better and stronger.
Everyone gets old. That’s how life works. You’re born, you grow into a kid, then an adult, then your body gets older, and then one day your body will stop working.
Lots of people are scared about when they have to die. They are also sad and upset when others have to die. Those feelings are normal.
It’s not a good idea to think about dying too much. You should think about LIVING! You should be excited about the life you have now, and how to make as many good things happen in the time you have.
I never thought I would be able to do this kind of thing. Before I had children, one of my greatest fears of becoming a parent was to have to explain hard answers to my kids.
What if I didn’t know the answers? How am I going to explain the meaning of life to them? How am I going to explain tricky things like : love, life, death, sex, hell, mortgages, racism, insurance and global warming?
I guess since becoming a parent, the biggest tip I’ve learnt : Just tell it like it is.