"Mommy, will we go to Heaven at the same time?"
Megan is cuddled up next to me, in my bed, as I try to get her to fall asleep while simultaneously keeping up with the #nctechat about writer's workshop. Her own little princess bed in her pink and green room down the hall is alone again (naturally) as she prefers sleeping next to me. It's a hard habit to break and this summer we've gone backwards. As I am tweeting on my phone, Megan, at 3 years old, decides we need to have a philosophical conversation about life, death, and the afterlife.
"Why did GG die?" she asks.
"Where did GG die?"
"Will I die?"
"Can Simba come back?"
(Simba was my in-law's dog who recently passed away this summer. Megan would bring him bones each time she visited.)
I don't know the answers. My heart aches when she asks if we will die at the same time. I can't imagine life without her and don't ever want to leave her, either. She says she doesn't want to go to heaven- she wants to be with her family here. I want to reassure her that she won't die for a long time, that we are all safe and healthy and no one is going to heaven anytime soon. I feel myself lying through my teeth, because of course no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. A first grader can get gunned down in her classroom. A toddler can get snatched by an alligator while on a family trip to Disney World. Terrible, unimaginable, horrific things happen every single day.
Clearly, I can't tell her that.
When my grandmother (GG) died in December, Megan didn't seem upset or aware. My son, Alex, who will be 6 in October, took it much harder and asked a lot of questions. It seems Simba dying has caused Megan to think about life and death and GG now more than before. She says she and Alex can "rescue" GG from heaven and bring her back. I try to explain it doesn't work that way, and that GG is happy in heaven and doesn't want to be rescued.
But what do I know?
Tonight, as Megan lays down next to me (again- little bed vacant), she tells me she wants to have a good dream. She says she dreamed about a monster last night, but he was a good monster. He made her pastina and carried her and took her to Little Gym and helped her on the bars. She can't imagine a mean monster- only a kind one who is apparently a better chef than me.
Tonight, she believes in a safe, happy world. The hard questions are not voiced tonight- instead, she drifts off to sleep, with her stuffed baby fox under her arm, and good monsters who hug her in her dreams.