At dinner it was all about the olives.
Do these olives taste different?
Does this olive look like a hat?
Are the green olives bigger because they have the red thing in the middle?
Before dinner @ had asked for the key to a cabinet. When I asked why, he said he wanted to see his brother's ashes. I hesitated, but I had to separate my own reaction from his request. There wasn't a reason to deny his request. It was unexpected but simple, attainable.
As we were eating ice cream sandwiches after dinner, he told me we were lucky because we have N's ashes. That N is with us. I'm honest with him. Sometimes I wonder if it's the best thing. I told him I thought we'd be luckier if N were sitting here eating an ice cream sandwich with us.
(There had been three ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. It suddenly feels like that the extra was N's sandwich.)
At bedtime it was much more serious stuff.
What happens when you die?
What does your body do?
We talked about breathing and heartbeats. @ knows all about breathing. He spent his first year tethered to an oxygen tank. He knows that the doctors couldn't make N's lungs work.
What happens next?
Is there an underworld?
I told him that people have lots of different ideas and beliefs -- heaven, hell, karma, reincarnation, nothing. He asked me which was the real answer.
(Pimentos, albeit somewhat inexplicable, are more easily explained.)
We talked about carrying N in our hearts. He told me that the nurses do too because they tried to help N breathe. And his dad. And grandpa. Uncle Dave. We agreed that everyone who loved us and was waiting for him to be born carries N in their hearts.
Satisfied, he turned to more tactical matters.
If N was alive would we go to the same school?
Would we be in the same class?
If N was alive would we have bunk beds?
Then he cried because he misses his brother.