Five-year-old Jayden asked me abruptly while he was watching Peppa Pig: “Mommy, why people die?”
This was a big question and there was no pat answer to it. I hesitated as I didn’t know how to answer and I didn’t want to dismiss him casually as well. After several seconds I saw he was still waiting for my answer while he seemed to think about it himself too. I had to say: “when people grow too old, they’ll die.”
Obviously he’s not satisfied with my answer; worse than that, he’s confused and unsettled.
I added immediately, “but they will go to another world.”
As I am an atheist, I don’t really believe something like heaven or hell. When I said "another world" I felt like I was telling a lie. But what could I do? What I wanted was to console the poor little thing, for I saw he’s going to cry, his lips twitched, tears to be shed. He said: “I don’t want you to die.”
“Oh, silly boy, come here.” I said, hugging him and sitting him on my lap. “Everyone will die. Just think about that we’ll meet in another world one day. We can play together again. I promise, we’ll no longer be apart there.”
He said nothing. I stroked his hair, patted his back to calm him down. In order to distract him, I asked him: “You thirsty? wanna have a freeze?” Freeze is his favorite snack in the summer; he likes freeze more than ice cream or popsicle.
Sure enough, he immediately forgot the serious question and slid off my lap and went to kitchen.
Alert cancelled. The rest of the day, I prepared dinner; we ate. He played, ate, played, brushed teeth, took a shower, and went to sleep around 9: 30 p.m. I lay beside him and said: “Have a good night.” Everything was normal.
Out of blue, he turned over and faced to me: “Mama, how can people get into another person’s tummy if he's put into grave after he dies?”
God save me! if there were a God. I cried in my head. He hadn’t forgotten that question at all. He’d been thinking of it the whole evening and night.
“Silly,” I said, “why does a person have to go into another person’s tummy after he dies? Remember I told you, he’ll go to another world.”
His expression told me his doubt. His eyes were shinning like the stars in the dark sky.
“When people die, they are buried in the grave, but their soul will leave the body and go to another world.” I kept lying. Please don't ask what is soul, what is renascence. I crossed my fingers.
“Will you be always my mom?”
“Of course. Do you want me to be your mom forever?”
“Then go to sleep, sweetie. Night-night. Have a good sleep. Have a good dream…”
Three days past. Nothing happened. The question finally stopped haunting him and died down.
This morning, before he went to summer camp, he asked me: “Mommy, which city do you want to live in another world, Paris or London or New York?”
What a mindfuck!