I have, basically, recovered. My spouse is sick, however. And my younger son coughed a little and complained of a headache after dinner.
My parents are white-water rafting in Oregon at the moment, along with a cousin and my niece and nephew. There being no cell service, there is perforce no comfort or advice to be taken there.
So, when my older boy confesses to me, as he’s going to sleep, that “I’m scared, daddy,” you can see what’s coming.
He said that was scared of what comes after, what comes after we’re all gone. Not just his own death (not explicitly stated, but there it is), but also mine, and my husband’s, and his younger brother’s.
What a world we live in that an 8-year old boy — a not unusual age at which to be trying to make sense of mortality — is trying to contemplate not just what will happen when he dies, but what will happen when we’re all gone.
So I said what came to mind, because one cannot actually prepare for this type of conversation. That what comes after we’re all gone is life will go on. And people will tell whatever stories they have about us. That we were kind, and brave, and a great friend, a fast runner and a strong swimmer, that we played piano beautifully, that we looked out for our younger brother, and reminded our dads not to be mean to spiders (because wouldn’t we fill bad if someone came and destroyed our house, the one we’d spent a whole day making) and to make sure that homeless people got enough glucose and so shouldn’t we make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
After a whole day of trying to not to weep over the fact that I’ve got COVID, and all my family’s got it, and the whole world is falling to pieces, that’s the best I’ve got. I hope it’s good enough.