The Physical World

You may have noticed that many of these posts are from when Ben was younger and that I skip around….it’s because I didn’t know how to blog when I was writing them but don’t want them to continue to sit in my drawer.

This is from when Ben was 4 and a half.


Ben had woken up sick in the middle of the night and was now recovering. I stayed home from work to be with him, and he had been sleeping all morning. I poked my head into his room and saw that his eyes were open, so I went over to his bed and sat down next to him. I put my hand on his head. He no longer had a fever, but he seemed weak and he was quiet.

“Are you feeling better, sweetie?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, but his eyes looked sad. “Why did I throw up?”

“I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe you ate something bad or you had a little virus.”

Just then Simon jumped on the bed and curled up our feet.

“I want Simon to be my kitty when I grow up,” Ben said.

“Well,” I said. “Kitties don’t live that long. And Simon is already really old.”

Ben stared at Simon. “You mean Simon is going to die?” he asked. I realized that I had opened a can of worms. But it felt natural to tell him the truth at that point.

“Well, yes.” I said. “One day.”

There was a long silence as Ben thought about this. “Why does he have to die?” he asked.

“Well,” I said. “Everyone dies eventually.”

There was another long silence.

“Are you going to die, Mommy?”

“Not for a long time but, yes, I’m going to die one day.”

Ben considered this. As I watched his serious little face, I realized how vulnerable this stomach virus had made him. I felt like I was delivering bad news while he was weak. But since we were already on this path, I didn’t think it would be right not to tell him the truth about what he was asking.

“Is Daddy going to die?” he asked.

“Yes, honey, but not for a long, long time.”

Another silence. And then he asked the clincher question.

“Am I going to die?”

This conversation was starting to hurt.

“Yes,” I said. “But again, honey, not for a long, long time. You will live a nice long life first.”

Ben stared at the ceiling, pondering and pondering. After a few minutes he spoke.

“Mommy?” he said.


“Let’s don’t die.”

A few days later he asked, “How is Simon going to die? Is he going to explode?”

1 Comment

Filed under Anecdotes

One response to “The Physical World

  1. Patsy Flint

    This is so beautiful. Ben doesn’t just capture trying to understand Death from a child’s point of view, it’s everyone’s point of view. He makes poetry with his questions.

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