Last night Squink asked why I had two earrings in one ear and only one earring in the other.
I told him it was a long story, and asked if he wanted to hear the story from the beginning. He said yes. I warned him it might make him a little sad.
My story went something like this:
I was once told by a real sailor that when sailors cross the equator or sail all the way around the earth that they are ready for their earring. Many sailors will put in a gold earring that can be used to pay for a “proper” funeral should they happen to die at sea.
I got the earring because of grandpa Honey (this is not his real name but is what I called him when I was little. (aside: He hears me mention Grandpa Honey a lot as every time I drive by the cemetery, which is close to my home, I say out loud “Hello grandpa Honey, I love you” and has joined me in saying that).
When I was not much older than you, I went on a boat trip with my family and that included me, uncle Trent, Nana, grandpa cowboy, a cousin, your great uncle Sam, your great aunt Claire, A lady named Anis, Your great-grandma Zun and Grandpa Honey. We rented a boat and went to some islands that just happened to be on the equator. Those islands are called the Galapagos islands, and they are very famous and have lots of fabulous animals (I had my lap to handy and showed him pictures of things like the blue and red footed boobies, the frigate birds, seals, rays, penguins and iguanas). On night grandpa Honey felt very sick and he died.
Squink asked me what happened. I told him that we did not know but we thought he might have had a stroke. He asked what a stroke was and I ended up saying that it is like the blood blows up and stops going to your brain. Your brain can’t work and tell your body to keep breathing and moving your blood.
So, there was a sailor on the boat with us who did something called CPR on grandpa for a really long time, with out stopping. Like 6 hours long as our boat tried to get to the nearest island that had a doctor.
Squink became very agitated that we would do something where we did not have a doctor very close. He said doctors and dentists and those people are very important and that we should have had one with us. I did not feel like telling him that he is lucky to be a first world child and that many people live in places that don’t ever get to see a doctor much less a dentist. So I told him he was right, and that was something we had not considered. He threw me a loop at this point and said he wished he had been born earlier so he could have been on that trip with us and told us we had to have a doctor with us that way he could know grandpa Honey. He was very distressed and I was beginning to feel helpless and started to reconsider my philosophy to answer all Squinks questions as truthfully and as simply as I could. He started asking a lot of questions and I ended up having to explain what a nervous system was, what a circulatory system was, I even had to show him a picture of a brain that had a stroke. I told him that your heart is like a carwash for your blood and that it cleans the blood as it moves through your system. I told him that blood gets made in your bones. He was fascinated and asked me if he could tell his friends about these systems.
We talked about death, and how it was not a bad thing and a part of being human. That it was OK to be sad. That some people die because they are sick, but some because they are old and bodies just do that. He continued to be upset that he did not get to meet grandpa Honey so I told him that he can feel him with his heart which led to a discussion on spirit and how it is not something you can feel by touching, but is a feeling you feel like being happy.
It was undoubtedly one of the more difficult and fascinating conversations I have had with Squink.