I’m writing this in a time zone ahead of yours so technically it is still your little red-haired granddaughter’s 10th birthday. I have to catch a train in a couple of hours to go meet everyone out in the country for a little celebration, so I’m going to have to do this on the fly. There are lots of things to tell you, but for now they’ll just have to wait for another letterhometoyou.
The other day I was going through some old notes and papers I’d put aside, scribblings of what she said, places we’ve been, talks we’ve had. I came across this and just had to laugh, because I remembered it while we were having a similar conversation just the other day. Later I’ll send that one and you can compare. This is dated April 2, 2001.
Daddy, when you die, you turn into a skeleton, right?
Yes, that’s right.
Grandpa died, right Dad?
Yes, he died.
Why did he die?
Well, first of all, we are all going to die one day. Your Grandpa was old, but he was also very sick. He had a disease that made his brain not work right. He couldn’t walk anymore, and soon, he couldn’t even eat anything. So he died.
What kind of clothes was he wearing when he died, outside clothes, or inside clothes?
Well, I guess he was wearing inside clothes. He died in hospital. Why does it matter?
Because if you die, you’re really cold, right?
Well, I don’t know. Nobody really knows what it feels like when you die.
But when you die, you become a skeleton, right? The flesh goes away and then you’re a skeleton.
Right. It all goes back to dust. But that’s not going to happen for a very, very long time. Do you know why the flesh goes away?
Because bugs eat it. Many bugs. Many, many bugs eat all the flesh. And when there isn’t any more, they go somewhere else. But the bugs only eat dead flesh. They wouldn’t try to eat you or me when we’re alive.
But what happens when the bugs die?
Well, I guess even smaller bugs eat the other bugs.
Dying is really boring, because you’re dead for a long, long time, and you don’t do anything!
Well, I don’t know about that. Some people believe that after you die, you become another person. And other people believe that after you die, you can become another animal. In another life. So they say that’s why you should be good and kind to all living things, because it could be someone you once knew. Like Grandpa.
(Very long, thoughtful pause)
Yeah, but when you die, you become a skeleton, right?
© 2007 lettershometoyou