Kids, Death, and an Inheritance Wish List

I am fascinated by how children view death. Unlike adults, kids are often able to talk about death like the eventuality it is. A few months ago, I told my six-year-old twins that it was Grandma’s 70th Birthday. My son asked, “Is she still alive?”

Well, one 7-year-old, who we’ll call SZ, has taken the eventuality of death to another level. He’s planning for it. This isn’t surprising if you know that SZ’s uncle is Clay Morgan, a fantastic blogger and all around great guy. Clay himself has worked in graveyards, so maybe there’s a recessive curious-about-death gene that runs through his family. Or maybe it’s just plain cleverness.

SZ is also obsessed with technology, including his uncle’s blog, He even created some original artwork.

"Clay's page from Educlaytion"

Clay thinks that by the time his nephew is thirteen, SZ will be the IT Director of Morgan Multimedia Worldwide, Clay’s not-so-secret plan to rule the world. I think Clay’s underestimating SZ. The kid’s a planner. I’d say he’ll have his sites on the CEO chair.

Here’s the proof.

So it’s Christmas holidays. SZ decides it’s time to make a list. Not a list of things he wants from Santa Claus, but a list of things he’d like, once his Grammy and Auntie die.

Here are the items that SZ has his eye on, you know, given the eventuality of death:

An Inheritance Wish List

Even a record player.

SZ is retro cool. At age 7.

Look out, Clay Morgan.

About Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of SLOTH TO THE RESCUE, SAVING THUNDER THE GREAT, THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE, and NO MORE BEIGE FOOD (2016). She also wrote humor books DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids and MOMMYFESTO. She and her family live in Calgary, Alberta because they like complaining about the weather.

Posted on May 31, 2011, in Views of Adults and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Retro cool is a great description for him. He is so funny, just a sweet kid. And you’re right about how children view death. I love that line from your son!

  2. I have seen my future… I will be working for SZ!

  3. Just as aside from SZ’s mom….we must all remember he actually learned how to walk at a funeral home! He did all he could do to cruise along that line of chairs to the casket….the knealer now has a new function!

    • Something tells me you could tell a lot of stories, with SZ and Clay in your life…

      As a fan of irony, the funeral home detail has be laughing. SZ has a ready-made framework for his memoir, I think.

      • Between Clay getting left behind at a funeral home, to my middle monster asking me “why doesn’t she just WAKE UP?” (loudly!), we have no fear when it comes to entertaining, er I mean, mourning.

        SZ also loves to take people by the hand during viewings and give each one a personal tour of whichever funeral home we are enjoying, er, I mean, visiting, at that moment!

    • I am loving your tales, which sound like an episode of Six Feet Under. 🙂

      How fun would you be to have at a dinner party! (Or a funeral luncheon…)

  4. I think he should branch out and start requesting items from other kid’s relatives when they die.

  5. My son, his grandfather and I were in the car – it was my Dad’s 70th bday.
    Son,”GPA- how old are you?”
    Son-“WOW- you don’t have much time left!”

  6. When I was ten, I put sticky notes on things in my grandparents’ house that I wanted. I wish I could go and change my answers because I no longer want artificial foliage that was bought in the 70s.

  7. Perfect. I’d like to hear how THAT conversation went down.

    “So, you know, you’re not gettin’ any younger and I was just thinking…”

  8. Hey, he could have lifted his leg on those items. Writing is refined marking.

    Thanks for sharing this, Clay.

  9. So he wants the record player. Does he know something that I don’t know? Because after 30 years, I just kicked ours to the curb. Are those suckers going to be antiques? Can someone call SZ at school and ask him for his reason behind wanting the record player. I’m hoping he just wants to take it apart to see all the cool, colorful wires. Or maybe he wants to use it as a souped up “Sit and Spin.” Or may he plans to drop it from the roof of his house for the big boom.

    Obviously SZ knows something I don’t know. His parents should totally keep him… unless he starts talking about how he’d like their 8-track cassette player. Then it might be time to move the sharp objects.

  10. I’ll never forget taking my then 5-year old daughter to the funeral of an out-of-town relative. She had only met the deceased once. After the funeral she walked up to the widow with crocodile tears in her eyes and said, “I’m going to miss him!” My aunt cracked up…

    • I love the laughter portion and how she knew the cliched what-to-say.

      I brought my twins to their first funeral last summer. My cousins’ grandma, who I grew up calling Grandma. They behaved remarkably well. I think it had something to do with threatening them with their own funeral if they didn’t.

      Because I’m such a good mom.

  11. I love that he wanted the record player…albums are definitely back in style!


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