April 10, 2009

The Whole of the Moon


I hope there's a heaven. I really do. I just don't believe that there's a heaven, and it makes conversations about death (and death in general) really challenging. When Blue died I really wasn't ready to have the death conversation with a not-quite-two-year-old, but Buckaroo kept asking about his doggie friend, so I looked up how to talk about death with toddlers online, and one article said, "Just be matter of fact and don't give more information than is asked."

So I told Buckaroo that Blue had been sick, and his body stopped working. It would be so much easier if I could say, "Blue's in heaven, Sweetie. He's happy there." Buckaroo said, "Blue needs medicine! He needs to go to the doctor," and I explained that usually sick dogs go to the doctor and get medicine, but it didn't work for Blue. Finally, I got out the words, "Blue died. I don't know where he is now."

We have this conversation every few days, and it always starts with, "Where's Blue?"

Today Buckaroo surprised me by asking, "Where's Grandpa Marty?" He's never asked about Grandpa Marty before. My dad's birthday was this week, and I felt like Buckaroo was reading my mind. They were never able to meet, and Buckaroo was only two months old when my dad died. I started the death dance again. "Grandpa Marty's body stopped working," I said.


I thought I should probably leave out the car crash details. I was driving during this conversation, trying to keep my eyes on the road.

"Grandpa Marty needs medicine," he said.
"Medicine didn't help Grandpa Marty; usually it does, but it didn't help this time."
"Grandpa Marty died like Blue," he stated. For some reason I had avoided making that connection for him.
"Yes," I said. "And we love Grandpa Marty wherever he is."
I feel like he's close to us, but I don't know how to explain that to Buckaroo.
"Papa Gary loves Grandpa Marty best of all!" Buckaroo shouted exuberantly.
"Really?" I asked, a little bewildered.

Papa Gary is my step-dad, and "loves Grandpa Marty best of all" are not the words I would use to describe his relationship with my dad while he was alive, but maybe Buckaroo knows more about the workings of the universe than I do.

Buckaroo then shouted, "There's a tractor!" and that was the end of the conversation. Then Peter Mulvey's version of "The Whole of the Moon" started playing. It's another song that reminds me of my dad:

I pictured a rainbow
You held in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wondered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
You were there at the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by the truth
You saw through the lie
I saw the rain-dirty valley
You saw brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
Unicorns and cannonballs,
Palaces and piers,
Trumpets, towers, and tenemets,
Wide oceans full of tears,
Flag, rags, ferry boats,
Scimitars and scarves,
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

1 comment:

Lee Anne said...

This one I would like to chat more about.