Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory...

Kids have questions and they expect us to have the answers.  Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't, but the majority of the time we can point them in the right direction.

A few years ago our life provided us ample opportunities to answer questions about death.  At the time #1 and #2 where both under the age of 5.  One of our conversations went something like this...

"What happens to people when they die?"
"Well, if they have Jesus in their heart their spirit goes to heaven."

Long pause.  I realized he probably had no clue what a spirit was...

"Do you know what your spirit is?"

"No."

"Well, every person is made of two parts  We each have a spirit and a body.  Our bodies are the costumes God gives us while we are on earth.  Our spirit is our thoughts, feelings and words.  For example when you talk can I see your voice?"

"No."

"But it is still there.  Your voice doesn't ever go away.  It is your spirit.  When we die our spirit goes to heaven and gets a new costume but our earth costume stays on earth."

I could tell that the costume example made sense and the wheels were definitely turning in that little brain. He had several follow up questions about getting a new costume and what that would be like.  I answered the best that I could and said, "I am not sure," several times too.

The main thing to remember when discussing death of a loved one with kids is to reiterate how happy you are that your child is alive, healthy, and strong.  It is normal for them to express that they do not want to die and they will probably want you to tell them repeatedly why the person died and why that is not going to happen to them. 

Once I feel that I have answered their question and now we are just looping the same conversation over and over I start turning the conversation to how happy I am that we are not dying right now and the fun things we can do together since we are healthy and strong.  Kids by nature do not brood so this usually ends the death conversation.

The first few times my little darlings brought up the subject I would feel like I was going to throw up, but now I am comfortable with answering their question, reiterating their health and reminding them of my love.  I hope that if this Memorial Day you find yourself in a discussion you had not anticipated that you will have the courage to do the same. 

3 comments:

  1. I really love the costume analogy!!!
    Nice post, Jenni!
    :) Mags

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  2. That is such a delicate subject. We haven't lost someone close to us, but inevitably someday we'll have that talk. That's when I know I'll have to pray that God will guide my words and comfort their little hearts. Good post, once more!

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  3. This is an immensely thoughtful way to approach memorial day and an area of parenting I know many of us could use advice. I know that for me, #1 is a ways off from this but I'm training for that marathon early.

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