Not sure how the subject came up. Maybe it was that she had buried a lizard earlier in the day that I had attempted to save from the tennis court.
Her – “Are you going to die someday?”
I’m a big believer in truthful answers, at least as I see it…
Me – “Yes.”
But I didn’t want her to get distraught or to be left with something anxiety-producing deep in her psyche, so I continued…
Me – “My body will die. But my spirit will always be alive, and my spirit will always be with you.”
She made a sound of agreement.
Me – “I remember when I was seven years old like you. We were living in Ohio, and I was alone in bed one night when suddenly it him me that someday my Mom and Dad would die. I cried and cried and cried. I felt scared and alone and very sad. But here I am, and… all this time later they’re still here.”
She laughed in a relieved sort of way
Me – “Someday Nonna and Pappa will die. Their bodies will leave us, but their spirits will always be with us.”
Her – “And someday you’ll die?”
Me – “Yes, but not for a long time, and my spirit will always be with you.”
Her – “Someday I’ll die, too.”
Me – “Yes, but not for a long, long, long time, and your spirit will be alive forever. And we’ll be connected forever.”
Her – “Yep.”
I think it was an honest but comforting and illuminating conversation that settled her mind. Do I know for sure that what I said is accurate? No. But it’s what feels true for me, and I think it gave her comfort and clarity that she can use or tweak as she grows up.