Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The D Word

My daughter has begun to use the D word.

When I die, people will walk on me?

Even at the age of four, she knows that the dead are buried in the ground. More questions follow rapidly. She thinks that if a grandparent doesn't show up to pick up her classmate from school one day, he must have died. The same if someone goes on vacation for a week.

Her statements are crude but yet shockingly honest. Unfettered by the complexities of the adult mind, she is free to explore unencumbered. There is no guilt or embarrassment in her voice. Our conversations lack the fear and angst that so often cloud this kind of discussion amongst grown ups.

She is curious.

Was I dead before you had me?


In some ways, my daughters fascination with death will not likely evolve as she grows older. She will lose the innocence as she forgets the mechanics and begins to contemplate deeper meaning.

What happens to our soul?

The pang of love that shatters our hearts, does it just disappear?

And I will tell her that I don't know. I have helplessly watched life slip away countless times, but I am no closer to the answer.

I have both battled death as the enemy and humbly welcomed her mercy. I have travelled her paths and attempted to veer away at every turn. I no longer see friend nor foe, more a quiet mistress who waits patiently in the wings.

Like my daughter, we are all just children. Bobbing and floating in the vast ocean, our minds turn yet we have no control over the direction of the tide.

My daughters voice pulls me back to the little bed in her quiet room.

Daddy, what does it feel like to die?

I draw her close and hold tightly.

My sweet child,

I'm still trying to figure out what it feels like to live.

1 comment:

Alice said...

Your posts always make me want to cry, in a good way. Thank you for writing down your thoughts and continuing to share them with me (us.)