Thursday, 12 June 2008

Soul Searching

As you might imagine things are a bit up in the air here, with so much to sort out and arrange. Because she is geographically closest to her mum, the role of executor to her fathers affairs has fallen to Polly and the poor girl is awash with insurance documents, death certificates and all the practical arrangements that have to be made. As I write she is meeting the vicar with her mother to discuss the funeral service, and then she has an appointment with the undertaker. There are times she doesn't know if she is coming or going. Yesterday she spent fifteen frustrating minutes frantically searching for her watch, only to realise she had been wearing it the entire time.

The boys are each dealing with the loss of their grandfather in their own ways. When Pam visited yesterday, S (aged 4) announced solemnly, “Nanny's sad. Grandpa's dead.” Then added, “Did you bring any comics?” M (aged 8) has been more philosophical. After taking on board the sad fact that he would never see Grandpa again he has been considering the nature of death. M's way of dealing with things is to talk about them, coming at the subject from different angles until he has exhausted the matter. His initial reaction was to comfort his mum by suggesting a nice cup of tea and that we all sit down and watch an episode of Dr Who. For M there is nothing that can't be made better by a visit to the Tardis. The next day, on his way to school, and after some considerable thought, he gave his analysis of the situation. The soul, he contends, is held trapped in the body. When the body is fit and young there is no problem and the soul remains trapped but as the body gets older and weaker the soul tries to escape. When a person dies the soul can break out and is set free. As far as I can see this does not contradict any of the worlds major religions, so who knows.

The other issue is whether or not M should go to the funeral. M blows hot and cold on the subject. But we are reminded of a friends son who was over heard talking to a classmate saying, “My granny's dead. They asked me if I want to go to the funeral. Think about it, on the one hand an afternoon at school, on the other me gran's funeral. What would you choose? Easy. Funeral!” The two boys then high-fived each other.

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