The other day when we were driving, Iris, our 7 year old, asked, “Can we go there?” I looked all around trying to figure out what she was referring to because all I saw was a cemetery. She said, “I’ve always wanted to go to where people are buried so I can read the tombstones and learn about the lives of people who are no longer alive.” I found this a somewhat strange request.
I thought long and hard about her suggestion for an outing. Is it an appropriate place to take children for a field trip? Bency, my 5 year old, has been going through a phase where he is afraid of getting old and dying. It has become so bad lately that I have had to promise we will not celebrate any more of his birthdays and he can stay 5 forever. Iris, on the other hand, is the opposite. She talks about Heaven and angels. She tries to calm Bency’s fears by explaining Heaven is a beautiful place and we all turn into angels to help others here on Earth.
What finally sealed the deal to take the kids to the cemetery is when I found a list on Iris’s desk entitled: Places I Want to Go for My Next Birthday. The list included: A farm, the library, a cemetery and the magical forest (she believes this is where the unicorns live). I have no idea what kind of birthday party she was expecting at a cemetery but I figured we would just make her dreams come true on a regular Wednesday morning!
Off to the cemetery we went, pen and notebooks in hand (the kids wanted to write down what they found out about people). Iris squealed with delight when we pulled in. Bency was equally excited just because it looked like a huge place to run and there was lots of mud puddles from the rain the night before. Cesar, the almost 2 year old, was just excited to get out of the house.
The kids had so much fun! They ran from tombstone to tombstone reading the names and figuring out how old they were. We made up fun stories of what we thought their lives were like and celebrated them. They filled their notebooks. It was quiet and relaxing. Iris’s curiosity has been satisfied but she does want to go back again. Bency seems more at peace with death and getting older and Cesar had fun playing in the mud puddles!
The kids have been lucky that they have not lost any loved ones. I hope when that day comes they can look back on this day and it will be a comfort to them. They will remember that we can visit the ones we have lost at any time and celebrate them in a fun and happy way…..perhaps our loved ones will be visited and celebrated by three strange kids as well…smiles and notebooks in hand.