Wednesday, 14 January 2015

What Happens To Me When you Die?

"What happens to me when you die?"

That was KC's little gem of a question over breakfast this morning. I wasn't really prepared. I'm doing the Dryathalon for Cancer Research and am finding waking up in the mornings with a clear head quite unnerving (that was a joke by the way - before I get told off!...).

He carried on munching his toast. 

"What do you mean?" I asked him, "If I die, which I hope I won't, then Papa will look after you, won't he?"

"But what if he dies too - what if there's a really big car crash and the car explodes and you and Papa are both killed. What happens to me?"

I was a bit taken aback by the vivid description of our death and his seeming ability to be unfazed by it. I loved the fact that he wasn't at all upset by the thought of Papa and I being destroyed in a fireball but worried more about what happens to him afterward - and, I noted, there was no mention of his brother - just him.

But, I guess thats the joy of being ten - life is all about you. Mind you, I know quite a few adults who still think like that.

I looked over at TJ who was now staring intently at me over his bowl of cereal. I could see they were both waiting for an answer.

"Well," I began, "In the, hopefully, unlikely event that Papa and I should both be killed in a car accident then you will probably go and live with your Aunty and Uncle in Manchester (my sister) or with Aunty and Uncle in Singapore (Dylan's sister). And Granny would want you or even your Godparents, Fairy and Furry."

"So I don't have to go back into care then?" KC asked.

"No," I reassured him, "You have a family now - not just our family but a whole extended family that includes Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles and cousins and lots of people who would happily look after you should anything happen to Papa and me. No-one would see you go back into care. Ok?"

KC seemed happy with this answer and TJ went back to eating his cereal.

I don't know whre this sudden insecurity had come from. Perhpas it's a sign of his willingness to accept that this is a forever home and yet, at the same time, he questions what happens if the two people who offer the forever home disappear - as so many people have in his life. After all, most children don't even have to consider the difference between their 'home' and a 'forever home'.

"If you do die," TJ suddenly piped up, "I think I'll choose to go and live in Singapore - I don't support Manchester Untied so I won't live there."

I was about to tell him that I don't think he would actually get to choose and that I'm pretty sure there are more Man Utd fans in Singapore than there are in Manchester but decided against it and just nodded as the two boys weighed up the various pro's and cons of living with the various family members. 

Again, I noticed sadly, there was no remorse shown about our demise. 

I hope they at least come to the funeral.


  1. Oh James! That reminds me of the time - about four years ago - when my two were happily divvying up my jewellery and shoes.
    'Mum? Can I have these when you die?'
    'And can I have this?'
    And so on.

    On a more serious note, we have discussed advance directives (for both mental and physical health care). The next step, I suppose, is to set said directives down on paper and leaving them with our solicitor.

    I think it's a good sign - they are seeing themselves as separate from us and accepting that we won't be around for ever. Still, it can be unnerving!