One day he asked me

Claude spent a few years processing that his grandfather had died just before he was born. It’s always a struggle to understand the presence of an absence.

One day in the midst of his processing, he asked me a question.

“Are you going to die some day?”

“Are we all going to die some day?”

I was undone by his perfectly logical, curious questions.

“Come here, I just want to hug you,” I said.

After the hug, Claude continued his questions.

“Am I going to die some day? When am I going to die?”

I tried not to cry.

People said to me later that these were all completely reasonable questions, that it was a normal part of child development to inquire into death, and that Claude deserved sober answers from me rather than sentimentality.

I think I eventually gave sober answers, but Claude already knew them anyway.

Writing this, I’m still trying not to cry.

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