I don’t think I was a particularly morbid child.
That being said, I was a particularly morbid child.
All children are particularly morbid children. They start life so fresh and tabula rosa and free of death anxiety. Then adults go and paste that anxiety onto them layer by layer like a 12 tiered cake of fear.
We keep them away from funerals and tell them not to worry because, “grandpa is sleeping.” What we don’t realize (and seem to forget as we slide into reluctant adulthood) is that children have dark imaginations far more powerful than any reality.
Yes, Grandpa is dead. Just as trees die and goldfish die and all things eventually die so their atoms can be gloriously spit out back into the universe to make new, interesting things. That’s the truth isn’t it? Is that so scary? Why not tell a child that, instead of telling them Grandpa is sleeping- conjuring nightmarish visions of poor Gramps waking up trapped underground in a tacky blue casket.
I’ve been thinking about a children’s death book for awhile. Early indoctrination to the cult of healthy minded death acceptance. Of course it would be easier to write a book for adults in the style of a children’s book. But I think it’s far more useful actually aimed at the little humans. It seems like that is the consensus from the people I’ve been talking to, including Andy, quoted today on the G(rave)chat:
“I vividly remember realizing my own mortality as a kid.
I have no idea what triggered it, but I ran into my parents’ room and was screaming and crying and saying, “Mom, Dad I’m going to die I’m going to die.”
And they were like, “Yeah in like 90 years maybe, go back to bed.”
But basically I really needed that book.”