Elvis and the Princess of the World

My kids, the older two, are fascinated by life and death. They constantly ask questions, to which I have no answers, like what does it feel like to die and what really happens to us. We had one such conversation in the car yesterday. Rebecca brought it up again while we were running errands, getting those last minute things we still need for school. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep coming back over and over again. We could keep getting reborn and it would be like we would never have to die. And we could do all the things we like over and over again,” she said. Of course I need to interject and point out the obvious. “You’ll get to do all the things you don’t like to do over and over.” I feel the need to say this because in my old age and with all my accumulated mothering experiences I am getting more and more cynical by the hour. Despite my negative comment, she does not seem put off. More questions asked and I try to answer as well as I can. I explain to her that different cultures and different religions do believe in life after death and I go on to explain a little about reincarnation. I tell her some cultures believe that you come back in different life forms, say an ant in one life and a cow several later. This evokes some silly animal sounds, to be expected, of course, from the six year old in the back of the minivan. Rebecca doesn’t much care for that answer, though. She would prefer to come back as Rebecca for all of her lives. I then go on to explain that “some people believe that when you die your soul stays around and eventually you do come back as someone else. Some believe that people you are close to in one life remain close to you in all your loves. I could be your Mom in this life, but maybe in your next life I am your brother or your best friend. You may come back as a boy next time, or another girl. You could be a girl in India or a boy in Africa.” I look in to the rearview mirror to see Rebecca contemplating all this information. She is silent for a second, then looks at me and says with all seriousness, “so Christopher could have been Elvis!”

Yep, and in my next life I am going to be Princess of the World and my feet will be massaged and my grapes will be peeled for me and I won’t have a worry or a care! Boy am I way overdue …

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