What Kids Say About Death
Sadie is 10 and best friend to Belle (10) (don’t tell Eva) and best friend to Eva (10) (don’t tell Belle) and best friend to Neighbor Girl (8) (don’t tell Belle or Eva) and sister to Wolf (17). Dora is 13 and sister to Will (15) and Bean (11).
VICE: Have you ever known anyone who died?
Sadie: My cat.
Belle: My grandpa, when I was one.
Dora: Several guys I killed.
Will: Not many people die.
Eva: My guy on Minecraft. Like 80 times.
How would you like to die?
Bean: In the most badass way possible: Fighting a shark with my fists and drowning at the same time.
Neighbor Girl: A positive way. From so much money. And I’m the most popular, beautiful girl in the world.
How would you die from that?
Sadie: She’s going to drown in her money closet.
Wolf: I would like to die like my hamster is dying right now. Warm blankets and privacy. Gentle voices.
Sadie: When I’m a thousand.
Belle: I don’t ever want to die.
Would you rather be all curled up with arthritis and uncomfortable, or die?
Sadie: Being in pain is better than dying.
Let’s say you die when you’re 5,000 years old. How do you want to go?
Sadie: A natural way.
Like of a disease?
Sadie: No! I just mean not somebody shooting me. Or, I would hate to die inside a big fish, if it swallowed me whole. You’d be alive for a while in there. I would be freaking out. You’d probably be alive for a minute before the stomach acid killed you. So you’d see your flesh coming off your bones before you were dead.
What do you think happens after death?
Wolf: I don’t know. I’ll have to find out. I believe in God as the ruler of heaven, so basically Jesus comes down to pick people up. If there’s an apocalypse, he picks up their bodies if they’re still alive and their souls if they’re dead. There’s supposed to be a supernova next year, a solar flare reaching earth and causing apocalypse. And we’ll go to heaven or Eden.
What about hell?
Wolf: Well, I’m a good person and God knows that, so I’ll probably go to heaven, but I have watched wizardry shows, so maybe I’ll go to hell.
Belle: About two weeks after death, you start to rot.
Sadie: Nothing happens. For me. For other people, they’re sad about me dying.
Neighbor Girl: I’m going to turn into a ghost.
What do you think your life will be like as a dead person?
Neighbor Girl: I’m going to haunt Sadie. When she’s sleeping, right when she opens her eyes, my pumpkin face is going to be right on her.
What do you wish to happen to your corpse?
Sadie: I want to be in a house that’s just for me with the door locked.
Sadie: Yes, but I don’t want to be in a coffin. I want to be sitting on a chair in there.
You’re going to rot and insects and maggots will get to you.
Sadie: I don’t care.
Who’s going to want to visit you if they have to look in the window and see you sitting there in your chair crawling with maggots?
Sadie: You can visit my house.
But I can’t come in? The house is all for your dead self? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice metal box for your bones and people can come sit inside the cool, shaded mausoleum and think about you? Who’s going to want to stand in the hot sunshine outside the building peeking in on your rotting flesh staring back at them in its chair?
Sadie: Well, that’s my opinion! That’s what I want to do.
OK. I think your opinion is gross, but I will have to respect it.
Sadie: If I came back to life and I was stuck inside a coffin, that would be gross.
Neighbor Girl: Sadie is so bad. Wolfgang, remember you said you wanted your body to be left out for animals to eat?
Neighbor Girl: Animals will die if they don’t. They’ll starve. Wolfgang should care about that.
Sadie: Fill up a wolverine’s stomach and then turn into poop. It’s the cycle of life.
Wolf: All right, I’ll do that.
Neighbor Girl: That way a whole pack will live off your flesh and live to see another day.
Sadie: It’s better for one person to die than one person and a whole bunch of animals to die.
Wolf: All right, I’ll do it. Just leave my body out in the forest.
Neighbor Girl: Wolf, how dare you contaminate your body like that? A scientist will find it before the animals do and turn you into a robot.
Previously - What Kids Say About Favorite Things