Dying to know

If Master Seven had come to me first to ask what happens after we die, I might have said: “I don’t know.”
So I was glad when I heard he’d gone to his Nanna and been given the story about Heaven.
While reassuring, it didn’t completely satisfy him, instead opening up a whole lot more questions: ‘Do we all go to the same Heaven?’ ‘What will we do there?’ ‘How old will we look?’ ‘Is it made of chocolate?’
Learner Dad doesn’t believe in Heaven.
He says that when we die, that’s it – hope you had a nice life.
No body, no soul.
But when I asked him what he’d tell Li’l Fatty, he answered straight away: “I’ll tell him he’ll go to Heaven.”
It made me wonder whether that was the right thing to do.
I wasn’t sure whether we should impose our own beliefs, let alone our non-beliefs, on our children.
There was a time in my childhood when I was obsessed with death.
I hadn’t really known anyone who’d died so there was no real reason for it.
But I’d lie in bed at night thinking about it.
My body would literally go cold as I considered the possibility there was nothing after it.
That I’d simply cease to exist.
My mother took my brothers and I to church a few times, not because she was religious, but just to show us it was there.
And for a time after that I went of my own accord.
Because, terrified of death, I needed something.
I’d sit and look at the little red light above the altar, the light that meant God was there, in house.
I’d stare at it, taking comfort from it, willing it to not go out.
I didn’t realise it was symbolic, a light that was always on because, according to the church, God was always with us.
I took it literally, as in: ‘Oh good, he’s here, God’s chosen this church today’.
Eventually I became a teenager and cynicism took over.
I stopped going.
I stopped believing.
Unlike Learner Dad, I don’t believe there’s nothing after death.
But unlike Master Seven, I don’t necessarily believe there’s a place called Heaven.
I’m still not sure what I’ll say to either of my boys if they persist with questions on what happens when we die.
‘I don’t know’ has been my answer to all Master Seven’s questions about Heaven.
But we’ve compiled a list of improvements we’d like to make when we get there, should it fail to live up to our expectations.


6 thoughts on “Dying to know

  1. This is a dilemma on a daily basis for me. We teach our children how to wee in the loo, tie their shoes, ride a bike …even how to talk, love and respect .. but how do we stop out own beliefs trickling in and dictating the terms of the faith (or lack of faith). I don’t believe in God but I don’t want my children not to, particularly if they feel Him or need him… Ah, another pang of guilt 😉

  2. The thought of death totally petrifies me.
    I feel physically ill.
    I hate to think that I am going to cease living.
    I’m going to Heaven when my time is up….
    I’ll be re-United with my son.
    And my whole family believe in heaven.

    It’s hard isnt it?

  3. Something that I feel I do well with the kids though is talking about our spirit in death. As an oncology nurse I’ve been with countless numbers of people when they have died, experienced the unexplainable and there is no way that you can’t be spiritual when you have. I tell my boys that we all have our angels that do those ‘unexplainable’ things to help us and when we die we too will be a loved one’s angel. There’s comfort in that for me.

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