“Death” is probably not a topic of conversation around the dinner table for most families, but it’s a common conversation at our house.
That’s because death is part of our lives. Death is part of our family. There’s a Nanna and a Mom missing from our family because of death.
And there’s just no other label to put on it other than death…
“Yes, Nanna died!”
We don’t burst into tears every time we talk about Nanna’s death, but we do talk about it with some sadness, some sense of loss, knowing that there’s a piece missing from our family.
When the children are somehow trying to make sense of our complicated lives, that’s usually when a discussion about Nanna’s death takes place.
So, I’m going to share a recent conversation I had with Kaleb about Nanna’s death. I’m not sharing it with you so you will feel sorry or sad for us. Hopefully, you will find his reflections on death cute, maybe even a bit humorous, and quite insightful.
I mainly want to share this with you so you will be encouraged to talk about death in your family because, whether you acknowledge it or not, death is part of life. It’s part of your life; it’s part of your children’s lives.
Talking about death with your children will help you understand what you really believe about death when you try to articulate it to them, especially the young ones. And when you explain death to your children, you are actually teaching them, and in teaching them about death you really teach them about life, what you believe about life.
I’ve had the “death” talk with the kids on many occasions and I always find it difficult to explain. Sure, I know the theology, I know what the Bible says, but to have to explain it to your young children will challenge your faith. Explaining death to children will give you a gut check on what you really, really believe and what you want your children to really believe.
And you may even find out that in some ways they have a simpler, better, deeper and more profound understanding about life and death than you do!
So here’s the recent conversation I had with Kaleb about Nanna’s death (and understand that he often asks a question that he already knows the answer for; it’s commonly called a rhetorical question, but in his case, and Kenzie’s, I call it a reassurance question):
Kaleb: “Are you married, Poppy?”
Me: “I was married to Nanna and then Nanna died so I’m not married now.”
Kaleb: “Does Jesus have a car?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Kaleb: “Did Jesus come and pick up Nanna in a car and take her to heaven?”
Me: “No, that’s not exactly the way it works.”
Kaleb (pointing up to the sky): “Did Nanna fly way up there to God when she died?”
Me: “Yes, Nanna flew up to heaven to be with God.”
Kaleb: “She got wings and flew up to God, didn’t she?”
Me: “Yes, with wings.”
Kaleb: “Now God has a daughter, doesn’t He?”
Me: “Yes He does, Son, yes He does…”