Thursday, January 18, 2007

Getting a little head around the concept of death

"You see, Mum, when things die, they have to go and live underground."

This is where Lyddie is currently at regarding her understanding of death. Our rabbit gave us cause to worry yesterday (though he's ok now) and we got to talking, between we older people, about how old he was and we couldn't expect him to live for ever.

We talked about whereabouts in the field we'll bury him when he dies, how deep the hole will have to be, what kind of marking stone we'll make and whether we'll plant a tree on top or not. Lyddie was just quietly doing her thing in the room: it never occured to any of us to offer her any special explanations.

Later in the evening she came to offer me her own explanation, as above.

I did briefly consider the possibility of explaining to her that a thing can't *live* anywhere after it's dead but quickly dismissed it, because I don't even know if that's true in every sense. Also I suspect the understanding of such a concept needs to happen naturally, in its own time.

Meanwhile the rabbit is hopping around again, chewing carrots :-) He's eight-and-a-half years old! Not bad for a rabbit.


Blogger HelenHaricot said...

we have had a number of human deaths, and i went with the stardust theory - we came from stardust, and we return to it, body just a body so returns to the planet that has fed us all this while.and human spirit tied to it for a short period. no idea what happens to the spirit afterwards,maybe soars free to dance in the stars but as long as people loved in your heart, they are always with you etc etc.
didn't seem quite so trite at the time! just needed a non religious symbol

11:58 am, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh I like that stardust theory, Helen! :-)

If she asked me a direct question, I'd give as direct, honest an answer as I could.

Until them I'm working on the assumption that because she's not asking directly, it's better for her to come to her own understanding in her own time.

Possibly if the death had actually happened, or we'd encountered the issue in anything like a more personal, pressing way, questions would have been more forthcoming - I don't know.

I get the instinctive feeling though that developing understanding of these issues is somehow a really important part of growing up. That's not phrased very well, but hopefully you know what I mean, kind of!

12:15 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Tough one. When my mother died, Big was only one so she has always known that her granmother is dead. But i have been routinely trotting off to funerals over the last few years and we have had questions. None have been quite so heart-stopping as this one though.

I do believe that people live on in those they touch and those who love them, I try, when I remember, to be more like my mother was, and more like the person she would have wanted me to be. So long as I am here to love her, she lives on. And so it goes on and on.

12:21 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL Tim, that post of yours just made me ROFL all over again!

Yes I agree with your theory too.

Also I once read, in an obscure Feng Shui/Taoist book, I think, that the reason why ancient cultures revere their ancestors' bones and take such good care of them is because the bones somehow act like bio/geo electromagnetic antennae and resonate that kind of *energy* (whatever that is - chi, I suppose they'd say, like that helps..) for the benefit of living family members.

There was some kind of 'science' to do with the chemical structure of the bones or something to back this up. Hmmm, must see if I can find it again...

12:28 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

D thinks you "live" underground too. 8.5 isn't that old tho. My aunt had one lived to be 19 and some of mine when I was a kid lived to be 12 or 13.

3:28 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Mind you, at least the death thing makes some kind of sense. The whole giving birth scenario is totally far fetched. Personally, I think the gooseberry bush explanation sounds a lot more likely.

3:53 pm, January 18, 2007  
Anonymous Melissa Corkhill said...

Hello Gill,

I have really enjoyed browsing your blog and I wondered whether you might be interested in any other writing work? I am the editor of The Green Parent and looking for a regular Home Ed column - might you be interested? Mail me at

Thank you


4:51 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Fame and fortune beckon.

Will still talk to us when you are a rich media type? Or will you just toss low denomination coins into our tin mugs and hurry on by to your celebrity brunches?

9:45 pm, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! I'll still treat you all to a *virtual* cup of tea, Tim!

Thanks Melissa, I'll be in touch

2:13 pm, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Ruth and EF, I need email addresses for you both please :-)

Can you post them here, or email me at

Thanks xx

2:15 pm, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...


Thanks Gill:)

6:23 pm, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

No it isn't
it is

er duh to my brain today.


6:24 pm, January 20, 2007  

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