Ooo, Hebburn is a Place on Earth

English: Jerry Springer at a Hudson Union Soci...

English: Jerry Springer at a Hudson Union Society event in January 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t kids say the funniest things? (To be said in Tony Blackburn voice for ultimate effect).

My daughter last night, for example. Lying in bed, exchanging our ritual Jerry Springer-style ‘final thoughts’ before shut-eye.

Her: “Daddy didn’t die in Heaven.”

Me: “Mmmm? What do you mean?”

Her: “He died in Grandma’s bed.”

Me: “…Yes…”

Her: “Where is Heaven?”

My atheist bile began its stealthy rise. “Heaven…well…it’s not real, sweetheart.”

“Father Michael says Cheesus died in Heaven.” Pauses. No response from Mother. Sings: “I am the Lawn of the dance says He….”

It brought to mind the old play-on-words M used to sing about a town in our native North-East: ‘Ooo Hebburn is a place on earth!’

I tossed from side to side for a good while, contemplating religion. I concluded that maybe it would just be easier if I got one.

My daughter attends a faith school (Church of England I think, although not entirely certain.) It was the nearest one and to be honest, when I enrolled her I was in sudden-death induced catatonia. It could have been orthodox Jewish and I would have signed her up. But she comes home with all this gubbins and I don’t know how to deal with it. At Easter time, she was distraught because Cheesus was resurrected from the dead yet daddy wasn’t. But why wasn’t He?

“Because Cheesus is…a fairy?” I proffered.

It didn’t wash. A man in a dress had come into school and suggested that Cheesus was a real, live human being who had come back from the dead. The man was adamant about this point. He completely confused my daughter. And me.

Maybe it is just easier to believe that M has gone to Heaven. To an, ehem, ‘better place’, because actually the prospect of anything else is too much to cope with. In a sense, it’s too difficult to explain.

Yeah, at 10pm on a weary Friday night, that suits me actually.

He’s in Heaven, sweetheart. With Cheesus and the fucking Wombles.

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14 thoughts on “Ooo, Hebburn is a Place on Earth

      • Ok. For myself, I no longer am a Catholic in ‘good standing’ I am what they call a ‘lapsed’ Catholic. However, I fervently hope and believe that our lives have meaning and purpose, and that those who we cherish and love will be reunited with us in our Eternal lives. I pray so. I couldn’t bear the unspeakable disappointment and pain of not seeing my father again. Of not seeing any of my precious loved ones again.

  1. Our family is atheist, and our kids go to a religious school, which is mostly fine. We’ve had a few altercations, such as our daughter refusing to participate in a Christingle, because the idea was nonsense. The headteacher phoned to tell us off! In the school reports, my daughter got As for effort in everything except RE, for which she received a C. My husband was caught between annoyance that she was being judged for her atheist stance, and indifference as ‘it’s not a real subject’. When his father died, last year, we definitely knew that it would be easier to comfort our children by saying that Grandad was in heaven, and they’d be reunited, rather than what we did say, ‘He’s gone, and he lives on through our memories and through us’. While I can see why religion can be helpful in such situations, it rather underlined to me, that religion is nothing more than an ‘opiate’. And I always remember one of your earlier posts about afterlives, when you make the point that surely there couldn’t be anywhere better for M to be than with you and B. I completely agree. How could any Heaven improve on that?
    (You can delete this post if you want. Reading through it, it seems entirely self-absorbed, and not particularly related to you. And potentially offensive to other readers?) A x

    • I wouldn’t delete any comment if someone had taken the time to respond. And I can’t see how anyone could be offended by a reasonably defended opinion. You have the right to believe what you want – I happen to share your views. I know that many widows get a great deal of strength from religion, indeed it is what has got them through. Personally, the strength of family and friendship has got me this far. Long may it continue.X

      ________________________________

  2. CJ, I think our lives can, and do, have meaning and purpose for our time while we’re on earth. You make a difference to your loved ones everyday by who you are and how you live your life.

  3. this post made me laugh out loud even reading it out to my girls who laughed also, theres got to be humour in death or how do we survive. xx

  4. don’t “particularly” believe in God, Bible etc, not to offend anyone, but if God made Adam and Eve and they had 7? (Some dispute in the bible it seems!) children and all humans are from Adam and Eve then we are all born out of incest…… I won’t go on about my other problems with the bible…
    However my point is… Steve died Last August suddenly, our daughter who is now 5 found him dead in the garden, Steve’s family go to church every Sunday, so when the subject comes up with Tia our daughter (and i did the same with my now 16 year old son – although no one had died on us then!) i say, everyone has different beliefs some think when you die you get reincarnated, some think you go to heaven and others think when you die you simply die, Daddy loved us and we loved him that is all that matters and you can believe in anything you want to the choice is yours……

    Karen

  5. Also an athiest widow, I told my daughter her Daddy was ‘in the stars’, which worked really well until she turned 3. Now she wants to know if he wears a spacesuit and lives with aliens.

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