MY WIFE WAS RECENTLY having some afternoon cuddles with our youngest daughter when, out of nowhere, the three-and-a-half year old asked: “You’re not going to die, eh, Mummy?”
Taken by surprise, my wife thought, I can’t lie. So she answered honestly: “Well, one day Mummy will die. But not for a long time …” hoping that would be the end of it. But oh no!
The conversation that arose, went something like this:
Daughter: “But I don’t WANT you to die!”
Mother: “Well, everyone dies sometime.”
D: “But I don’t want to die – and I don’t want YOU to die!”
M: “Oh, look darling, don’t worry. When we die we’ll be up in heaven with Jesus.”
D: “But I don’t WANT to live in heaven – I want to live in OUR house!”
M: “You don’t have to worry about it. Okay honey?”
D: “But how CAN we die? There’s no baddies – and no guns?”
Finally, as my wife tried to end this increasingly awkward conversation, our daughter leapt up and declared: “I’m going to tell the kids …”
Before her mother could stop her, she ran into our lounge where the other three were all playing cards. And at the top of her voice she yelled: “KIDS, KIDS! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”
Thankfully, her siblings just brushed it off as ravings of a mad child, and continued playing.
Oh boy! Answering life’s questions is not always easy. Choosing the right words is even harder! And I’m the first to admit that our standard reply of “Don’t worry about it …” could do with a little work …