Sunday, January 10, 2010

When You Die, Don't You Know - You Will Help My Garden Grow

I'm worried that I've forgotten how to write a decent story. I've lashed out against the 140 character updates too many times to not deliver on the other end. I'll try to redouble my blogging efforts.

I'm lucky enough to work about two blocks from the boys' school. It allows me to drive them each morning. Some days, we are very quiet - either because I've yelled at them for being awful little human beings or because no one is quite awake yet. Some days, the conversation is non-stop for the entire trip.

It's on these days that I experience some very interesting revelations

Two months ago, we had to put Rocky down. We were so sad. It was a crushing blow to an already difficult year. Leah and I agonized over how to tell the boys that their dog was gone. Yes, we already had Violet, but Rocky was their first dog. He was their friend. He was their quiet protector. He was everything one could hope that a dog could be. We finally bit the bullet and sat them down at the dining room table.

After explaining that Rocky was better off in heaven with Gramma Wilks and Great Grampa, they all looked at us, smiled, and said good. If Rocky was in pain before and now he wasn't, then that was all they needed to know. They asked where he was buried. I told them that he was in a special place in Pop Wilk's back yard, and we could go see him the next time we visited.

Weeks went by with no further mention of Rocky until one particularly talkative morning drive.

"Daddy, what's a coffin?"

"It's a wood box that dead people are buried in."

"Is Rocky in a coffin?"

"Well, he's in a small wood box, so yes, I guess he is."

"What happens to him?"

"He becomes a part of the earth."

"Does he turn the earth brown because he was a brown dog?"

This would have been a perfect time for me to be the educator. I could have spent a few minutes explaining how different nutrients in the soil create different colors, and that the darker the soil, the more healthy it was. But no.

"Sure pal. That's a nice way to think about it."

I thought this was the end of it. After a few seconds of contemplation, Aidan capped off our discussion with this chestnut:

"OH! Daddy, when our friends Phil and Na'Mia die, they will turn the earth brown too because they have brown skin!"