Thursday, June 23, 2011


What do we do on our last night? she asked me as I readied her for bed. The sun was still out, the longest day of the year in fact, so her bedroom, painted to resemble a candy cane, was even pinker than normal.

What do you mean? I asked, Like, last night?

No, she snapped back. She has little patience with those who can't keep up with her. On your last...night. You know, before you settle down.

Into deadness.

She punctuated this by crossing her arms over her chest, a mini sarcophagus.


I didn't know how to respond. She's spent a lot of time lately drawing angels, asking how she can go to heaven to see one. There is also the ever evolving list of those she plans on granting eternal life - currently her, a handful of Montessori friends, and me. (I was alternately crushed and smug that daddy didn't make the list.) It's clear; Death is on her mind. She tells me often how MUCH she misses her great grandmother who died earlier this year, a woman she met once in a nursing home two years ago. It's fascinating, watching her try on this etiquette, the pretend-mourning that elicts a hug and a pat on the head everytime she mentions it.

I tried to be casual. Deadness? I asked. Yes, like my great-grandmother. I miss her SO MUCH, she sighed, collapsing into her pink chaise.

I couldn't form the words to ask what she would do on her last day. The mere thought whips up so much parental dread it hurts to type this.

I'd spend it with you, I told her, pulling her into my lap. I was afraid my playing along was confirming her suspicions that yes, dead means just that. Dead. We don't come back. We make plans for our last night.

She sighed again.

I just hope she goes somewhere wonderful, she said. Huh? Oh. Your great-grandmother? I asked, trying, as always, to keep up.

Yes. Like Malibu, she decided. Malibu would be lovely.

Indeed. Sign me up for this heaven.


  1. Ah, yes; been there. At those moments I have found myself fascinated by what Ms. N was thinking, impressed with how she crafted the questions and terrified beyond my imagination and the idea of losing her. I aged just trying to maintain my composure enough to answer the question.

  2. Our daughter, Leyla has been going through the same thing off and on for two years since Copper's dad died. I just tell her, and he loved you very much.