Explaining

'How do I explain death to my child?'
Is the opening line to this story about the Davidson family and the sudden death of their mother.
As Oliver tries to find his mother in his dreams of space and as Jack tries to find out what life is about; we ask the questions that we can never answer.

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2. Oliver

Where is Mummy? It's getting into grown-up night time and I can hear owls. Mummy is meant to come in and say goodnight, Mummy is meant to tuck the sheets up to my chin and read me a story. Then when she turns the lights she'll jump on me and tickle me to sleep and say 'night night' and then I'll yawn and drift away. Mummy hasn't done that for a while, for a million years in fact. 

Is mummy in space? I bet she is. Space is so big there are lots of places to hide. I know! She must have got some idea from the space book she reads to me. That’s very clever of her, she will have built a big shiny space ship and flown off, trying to scare me. Oh silly Mum, I’m on to your tricks. I bet she’s just flying around the Milky Way giggling at how she’s fooled her family. But I’m on to her! Daddy’s been crying a lot lately because mummy is in space, but he thinks she’s sleeping. Oh the surprise I’ll give him! He’ll be so proud of his clever boy when he realises!

 

Mummy’s not sleeping silly Dad! Mummy is flying through the galaxy! Fighting space aliens and finding whole new worlds. I bet she’ll find one made of chocolate, where the trees grow Easter eggs. Mummy will come back with a million tonnes of chocolate and give it all to me. And every day we can fly to the chocolate planet and eat as much as we like. If we get thirsty we can drink the water because the water is really chocolate milk. The teeth doctor is going to be very cross!

 

Or maybe mummy is making friends with some aliens. I bet they all have really long funny names. Like berzlebehop and his brother gregnanboblebee. I bet they’re brothers and they have all sorts of adventures. Mummy will go with them; she’s always so adventurous. She’ll take them in her space ship and they’ll go all sorts of cool places, they’ll go to the moon and say hi to the people who keep their heads in plastic bubbles. She’ll go to a big Space Station, where all the space people meet and do all sorts of cool things. One day, I’ll go and find mummy up there and we can go into space together. We’ll bring back loads of cool presents for daddy and peter, but it’ll just be us. No one spoiling our fun, we’ve got the whole universe to find! I wonder where the universe stops. 

 

And if we ever find anyone who’s mean or too cross, we’ll blast them all into a million pieces! We’ll use the ray gun I’m building and all the baddies will go away because we got rid of them. Everyone will be so proud of us, and we’ll be famous on earth. Mummy and Oliver, the Space Explorers! They’ll give us big gold medals just to show how great we are. They’ll make chants and maybe we’ll get to be on T.V!

 

I want to tell Daddy right now! To make him stop being all-sad, but I shouldn’t spoil mummy’s secret, she wouldn’t like me to do that. Like last Christmas when mummy was going to surprise daddy by giving him a big cake with lots of candy on it, and I got too excited and told daddy about it. Mummy got terribly cross. But this time I’ll keep her secret! Maybe she’ll come down the chimney like Santa Claus and surprise everyone! Daddy will be cross with her at first, but they always make up because they’re mummy and daddy.

 

Oooh I want to tell everyone! Maybe I’ll tell some people at kindie, oh but I won’t be able to go if mummy is in space and can’t take me there with my milk. That’s a shame. But I’ll see them on the weekend and I can tell them all about my space mummy!

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