Me “No, I was with her when she died darling, and it was very peaceful”.
Big Milk “What happens when someone gets died?”
Me “They get very sleepy and quiet and eventually they take their last breath and fall asleep and don’t wake up. ”
Big Milk ” And then their body disappears and they go to heaven?”
Me. “Umm, no their body doesn’t disappear exactly.”
Big Milk “Well where does it go then? Does your body fall through the bed and then melt into the carpet?”
Me “No, umm, well yes it does kind of disappear, like eventually. (not even a lie my friends- bodies decompose and that’s kinda like disappearing right?)
Big Milk “So you waited for a bit and then Grandma slowly disappeared and then the bed was empty. Was there any smoke?”
Me “Well, hmmm, not really like that darling, I left before anything happened to her body. Her spirit had gone to heaven and she wasn’t really there anymore, plus I’d already said goodbye”.
Big Milk “What’s a spirit mummy? Did grandma turn all white like a Scooby ghost?”
Me “Ok, ahem, lights off baby. We’ll talk about this more tomorrow”
This explaining death thing isn’t easy for an agnostic. You swear you’re not going to lie, gloss over things with euphemisms or “easy lies” because they’re handy and comforting. You’re supposed to “tell them how it is”, not hide the true nature of nature. I had my own smug, self-assured commentary down - “Some people believe X, others Y, this is what I believe, you must decide for yourself”. But the truth is, it’s never that easy. The heaven lie came out early. I was tired and it’s just such a nice idea, isn’t it? Fluffy clouds, everyone decked out in persil whites, angels with 24 carat halos and harps that play themselves You can’t quite bring yourself to tell them the truth – it’s a bit too, well, real. In any case, you’re still struggling with it all yourself, and you don’t want to land the burden of accepting mortality on them just yet.
So it seems I’ll be trotting out some fanciful niceties for some time to come; in any case, my hole is already half way dug. But i reckon, his grandma’s just died, if he needs a bit of heaven in his life than let him have it. I could do with a few candy floss clouds myself.