April 4, 2010
Putting Gabriel (3) and Raul Andres (5) to sleep tonight, the topic of conversation turned to death. Note the person referred to as Haraboji is the kids' great grandfather. A slightly abbreviated transcript:
Gabriel: Where is Haraboji's wife?
Me: She died before you were born.
Raul Andres: How did she die?
Me: She was very sick.
Raul Andres: I got sick and didn't die.
Me: Well she was very old got very very sick.
Gabriel: Haraboji is sad. He misses her too much.
Raul Andres: Your abuelito and abuelita died.
Gabriel: Do you miss them?
Gabriel: Will you die?
Gabriel: I don't think that is a good idea.
Raul Andres: How would we live?
Me: I don't think it will happen for a long long time when I'm very old. You'll be men by then.
Raul Andres: Will everyone die? Everyone?
Gabriel: Then who will live in the world?
Me: Well, all the babies who are being born today. They'll grow up and have new babies.
Gabriel: But if we die, they'll never know us.
Raul Andres: I know what happens when you die. They put your body in the ground and cover it up.
Gabriel: So scientists can find you later?!
Raul Andres: And they put a rock with your name on top to remember.
Gabriel: But how can you remember everyone?
Me: Well, sometimes even after we die we give things to people. Like Gabriel even though you never met my Abuelito he gave you his ears, and Raul Andres, even though you never knew him, you have the same eyes. So I remember him every day when I look at you guys and you remember him even though you never knew him.
Gabriel: I have your Abulitos ears.
Raul Andres: I have your Abulitos eyes.
[The sound of two kids alseep.]