The Peanut of Doom
"Yep. When you're 25, I'll be . . . 59."
"Wow. That's really old."
"Yup. And when you're 39 like me, I'll be 78."
"Yup. And when you're 78,I'll be . . . 117."
"That's older than a hundred!"
"Yup, it is."
"Daddy, I don't ever want to die."
This issue has been popping up of late. Worrying about mortality. It was bound to happen. She's already five years old, after all. Only 45 years to go until she's AARP eligible.
I blame the cats. Two of them had to be euthanized in the past two years. At first, she accepted what we told her. That they went to a quiet place where they could rest and be comfortable and not hurt or be sick anymore.
Then one day she realized they weren't ever coming back and she cried in the backseat of the car for a good 15 minutes. Lately, she's started to worry about her own--and her parents--mortality more. Every once in a while she'll just come out with it. She'll ask what happens if we die. Or tell me she doesn't ever want us to die. We're on the same page with that, she and I.
She lost a great-grandmother this past year, too. They weren't close, but we did see MaPa not long before she died. She didn't go the same way as the cats, though.
I was a bit of a mortality worry wart when I was young. I don't know if it started at five necessarily, but I do remember laying awake at night worrying about it when I was around seven. The year I lost my great-grandmother, come to think of it.
We're not heaven and hell folk around here. But neither do we want to look at our 5 year old princess ballerina angel and tell her that "everything dies, it's called entropy, there is nothing but the void, please finish your asparagus." Hence the quiet place. I thought that might get us through for a few more years, but I guess not.
One thing we try to do is remain calm when the issue is brought up. I've also been trying to remember some of the things people told me when I was younger:
"You live on in your memories."
That one sucks. When you're a kid engaged in an existential crisis, "memories" don't cut it. At least they didn't for me. My ego said "fuck that, I don't want to live on. I want to live. I want to live and breathe and have birthday parties and get hugs and presents."
"When you die, the energy and electricity in your body dissipates and then co-mingles with all energy, because energy can never be destroyed."
My parents hung around with a lot of hippies. And when I was in college (read: smoking weed), that one was pretty comforting. However, my daughter doesn't to my knowledge smoke weed, and again, dissipated energy doesn't get to play with new toys.
So I guess for now we'll stick with the Quiet Place (that looks so ominous when it's capitalized). That and of course we tell her not to worry. That she is not going anywhere anytime soon and neither are we. That we'll be here with her and her brother for a long time yet. Which reminds me, it's time to take my cholesterol medication.